Monday, December 27, 2010

Illegal Graffiti: Microsoft Gets Busted

It's fascinating to see a major corporation resorting to guerilla advertising tactics to reach people. San Francisco's Prop G laws severely limit public advertising displays and this isn't the first time a big tech company got into hot water by subversively getting their message out in SF neighborhoods. In the "Not-So-Real-Estate" IDEO Pattern I wrote for IDEO, I referenced the example of an Intel advertisement that was affixed to an abandoned Disney Store on Market Street. It was considered illegal advertising and they got fined. You have to hand it to them for being creative!

Photo by Jessica Lum via MissionLoc@l

Now MissionLoc@l (big ups for neighborhood journalism!) reports that Microsoft admits to hiring an independent agent to chalk an ad on the Valencia Street's sidewalks. The problem is, they are not so easily removed, as you can see from the photos. Supposedly a similar incident involving someone who was hired by an agency that was hired by Microsoft ended in the individual getting arrested.

In an age where we are bombarded by messages from every direction, there is always a desire to limit the volume of messaging in public space. But increasingly, we expect to be able to communicate in urban space with a large audience instantly, just as we have grown accustomed to in the online space. It will be exciting to watch the battle play out.