Back in 2005, protests by parents and community leaders in a gang-ridden area of L.A. resulted in the removal of billboard ads depicting the rapper 50 Cent brandishing a gun in an ad for the movie, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”. Five years later, billboards and supergraphic signs around the city continue to display outsize ads with such depictions, sometimes right next-door to schools and in neighborhoods suffering from gun violence.
Ironically, while ad campaigns like the current blitz for the upcoming John Travolta movie, “From Paris With Love” plaster the city with depictions of guns, groups working to end gun violence have been using billboards to get their message to the public. Three years ago, to cite one of a number of examples across the country, then-L.A. City Councilman Nick Pacheco, working with the group Women Against Gun Violence, persuaded Vista Media (since acquired by Lamar Advertising) to donate 60 billboards to the campaign shown at the right. Interestingly, Lamar Advertising appears on a public NRA “enemies list” of companies that have lent corporate support to anti-gun initiatives.