25 March 2018

Billboards in the News

Billboard Series

The real-life Three Billboards stunts
01 March 2018
An American street artist has become the latest party to co-opt the signage featured in Oscar-nominated drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The artist - known as Sabo - covered three Los Angeles billboards with red tarpaulins accusing the entertainment industry of covering up child abuse. One billboard read: "And the Oscar for biggest p[a]edophile goes to...", while another claimed: "We all knew." The stunt is the latest in a number of protests inspired by the billboards featured in Martin McDonagh's award-winning film. In Miami, meanwhile, mobile billboards were deployed to urge Florida senator Marco Rubio to sanction gun reform in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Anti-Trump billboard in Arizona prompts death threats against artist
20 Mar 2017
Karen Fiorito was commissioned by a company for the local arts in Phoenix to create the billboard. The Santa Monica-based artist earned a master’s degree in arts from Arizona State University. Since the Trump billboard went up Friday, the 25-year-old artist said she has received both positive and negative feedback, including a few death threats. The dollar swastikas, she said, represent “corporate power and greed and how our society has become all about money and corporatism.”

'Incredibly Creepy' Billboards to Track Behavior of Passers-By
29 Feb 2016
Billboards across the country will soon begin to spy on the behavior of passers-by and sell that data to advertisers. Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, which owns tens of thousands of billboards nationwide, is on Monday announcing plans to use people's cell phones to allow its billboards to track the behavior of everyone who walks or drives past the ads. The marketing behemoth is partnering with AT&T and other companies that track human behavior to collect data on viewers' activity, which advertisers could then use to create hyper-targeted ads—similar to how websites track visitors through their browsers and sell that data to online marketers. Facial-recognition technology is also increasingly used by advertisers to track behavior in public spaces. In Germany, the Astra beer brand recently created an automated billboard that noted when women walked past. The billboard approximated the women’s age, then played one of several prerecorded ads to match.

Giant ads for Verizon, Super Bowl are illegal, S.F. says
27 Jan 2016
Two large banners advertising Super Bowl 50 and Verizon Wireless recently installed on the Four Embarcadero building in San Francisco will shrink substantially following the threat of a lawsuit from the city attorney's office, officials said today. The banners, which cover most of the building on two sides, can be seen towering over the Super Bowl City fan village area now taking shape at Justin Herman Plaza. In a letter dated Jan. 25, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said his office has received complaints about the signs, which violate a city law passed by voters in 2002 that prohibits any new general advertising signs in San Francisco. The letter said the signs need to be removed by 5 p.m. on Thursday or the city would file a lawsuit and seek a temporary restraining order and fines.

Skyscraper Billboard SF

Targeting racist trolls by putting their comments on billboards
30 Nov 2015

Brazilians who post racist abuse online may see their words blown up and pasted onto billboards near their houses. The campaign is called "Virtual racism, real consequences" and it's backed by Criola, a civil rights organization run by Afro-Brazilian women. The group collects comments from Facebook or Twitter and uses geolocation tools to find out where the people who have posted them live. They then buy billboard space nearby and post the comments in huge letters, although names and photos are pixelated.

Billboard art show confronts Missouri drivers head-on
31 May 2015
SOMEWHERE ON INTERSTATE 70, Missouri — Those who spend a lot of time on I-70 can confirm that it’s easy to let your mind drift while driving this 250-mile stretch of Missouri. Missouri has five times the national average number of billboards: about 15,000 billboards. Cars, food, porn, Jesus — everything is advertised on the giant structures. Thus the “I-70 Sign Show” was born. Funded by the University of Missouri, the show displays critical art pieces on a billboards. The pieces are meant to challenge and critique the political, social and commercial noise that confronts drivers. The “I-70 Sign Show” piece that got the most feedback, New York artist Mel Bochner’s piece, simply reads, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

Obscene image shown on hacked US billboard
21 May 2015
Hackers have managed to make a huge video billboard in Atlanta display an obscene image favored by internet pranksters. It prompted calls to police, and soon after, the billboard's owner cut off its power supply. The hack came after a security researcher warned the company, which runs thousands of the video billboards, that they were vulnerable to attack. The FBI and Homeland Security are now investigating the hack. The billboard is owned by US electric-sign giant Yesco, which runs thousands of similar billboards across America. Other signs in other states are also believed to have had their images changed at the same time. A group calling itself the Assange Shuffle Collective claimed responsibility for the attack, in a discussion on social news site Reddit.

Google rents world's biggest digital billboard in Times Square
19 Nov 2014

Google has become the first company to rent to the world's largest and most expensive digital billboard in Times Square, New York. The billboard is eight stories high and is estimated to cost $2.5m (£1.6m) to hire for four weeks. The screen, which is the size of a football field, is mounted on the side of the Marriot Marquis hotel. Around 300,000 pedestrians are estimated to pass by the billboard every day.

Dangling dummies shock Las Vegas commuters
08 Mar 2012
Mannequins hanging from nooses on two Las Vegas billboards Wednesday were part of an apparent publicity stunt that led to dozens of calls from drivers on their morning commute, the Nevada Highway Patrol said. The dummies were dressed in business suits and hung from signs reading "Dying for work" and "Hope you're happy Wall St." It wasn't immediately clear who was behind the stunt. Both highways are some of the most highly traveled roadways during commuter hours.

17 Jul 2012
The Brandalism project saw 25 artists from 8 countries coming together for the biggest subvertising campaign in UK history.  Over five days a team of guerilla installers travelled to Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol and London and put up artworks that seeks to confront the ad industry and take back our visual landscapes.

Gallery Page

2010 AZ Billboard
On the way to the Grand Canyon for a family vacation in summer of 2010, we passed through Kingman, Arizona on the old Route 66. Pictured is a billboard promoting the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, “doing the job the feds won’t do” with the ‘o’ in ‘won’t’ depicting the Obama symbol. Using a popular WWII poster, a much younger Jan Brewer is pictured as Rosie the Riveter. “Doing the job the feds won’t do” is in reference to Arizona’s controversial immigration policy regarding the protection of its borders. Whether one agrees with Arizona’s immigration policy or not, Governor Jan Brewer's billboard demonstrates that billboards still play a key role in the promotion of a public opinion.

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