My irregular musings on city life, politics, baseball, roller derby, and whatever happens to be getting my goat today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Progress" stinks

Apparently not everyone shares my horror of advertising invading every public space in the world. Some people are writing that the CTA doesn't have enough advertising up, and that blank surfaces are wasted space that could be used to tastefully pitch lingerie, movies or gas guzzling SUVs. Alison Neumer of RedEye writes that "Obstacles discourage progress" including "City Hall red tape" that "make[s] it difficult to introduce new types of ads." Well, let's hear if for red tape, because "progress" stinks. What would a progressive advertising utopia be like?
It's time the CTA considered all of its property--the sidewalks, the stairwells, the Web site--potential advertising real estate. Billboards, bus posters and train placards are CTA's obvious choices, but people screen out traditional media ads after a while. That's why advertisers continue to go the guerrilla marketing route, always hunting for unrealized space such as an elevator, the back of ticket stubs or someone's forehead.

The subway tunnel commercial like the one on the Blue Line is a good first step; let's see more stuff like it. Riders might be irritated: Do we really need more ads? No, but I can deal with a deodorant or cell phone pitch if it means my train shows up.
Or maybe we could keep the trains running by taxing environment destroying, national security compromising SUVs, rather than using the subway to promote them? And leave my forehead out of this, you bastards.

One thing I've been meaning to mention but don't think I'm going to have time to really right about is Revealing Chicago. On the way home from the Blues Festival last week I came across this exhibition of aerial photograpy by Terry Evans, focusing on all my urban issues: density, suburban sprawl, etc. They're beautiful pictures, trying to show the relationships between different patterns of settlement. But I don't think they make the case for traditional neighborhood design over sprawl, because the exhibit inclueds not one single picture of a healthy traditional neighborhod like mine. Also, she shows a block of ranch houses and calls them bungalows, which bugs me. Bungalow is a very specific term around here. Still, it's a cool place to start. It could have been a lot stronger with a couple more pictures, though.

I've also been venting about war and stuff. I just don't want to do it here. So it's back at ye olde blogge.

1 comment:

Trope said...

Oh, but it's such a cute forehead. :)

I'm all about *better* advertising. If it's interesting, I'll watch. I'm actually quite fond of the "Don't Be Jack" ad campaign on the buses. I'm squicked out by the Hummer ad, but I've learned when to avert my eyes when I'm riding downtown. An entire el car advertising shampoo, however, is boring. Unnecessary. The placard that says, "Ladies, I can show you how to make more money part time than your husband does full time!" give me an opportunity to ponder what's up with our twisted gender roles and why it would be worth stuffing envelopes and getting paper cuts on your soul, even if you could make that much money. It also concerns me that some folks will fall prey to these ads. And I cheer every time I see one of those "Considering Abortion?" placards scrawled over--correctly!--with "ANTI-CHOICE, ANTI-WOMAN".

I like el ads more than bus ads because they're more likely to be interactive art. My big problem with the H3 movie is that I can't get in the tunnel to create a counter-ad.

And--advertisers are whining because they can't target their CTA ads to specific neighborhoods?? Hello, this is a transit ad. Thus, "in transit". I can only imagine what kind of ads the Western bus would have to carry, to appeal to every ethnic and S-E group on the route.