Sunday, April 3, 2011

Post No Bills

While many neighborhoods are rightly concerned about garish electronic billboards, there's another, subtler but perhaps even more insidious, type of billboard to be concerned about.

Billboards at Argyle and Franklin, Hollywood.

The Billboards

This double set of billboards appeared a few years ago at the corner of Argyle and Franklin Avenues in Hollywood. These are true old-school "bill boards," on which a seemingly random assortment of "bills" (i.e., advertisements for movies, new albums, stage acts, etc.) are pasted weekly using brushes and buckets of glue. More than one resident in this area refers to them as "blight" and many if not most would love to see them gone.

Is this a "sign" for Raffallo's Pizza?

Look closely at the verbiage above the posters. It urges passers- and drivers-by to visit a local business (Raffallo's Pizza)
located in the mini-mall to which the billboards are attached. By doing so, you are told, you may enter a sweepstakes to win one of the items being advertised in the ads (movie tickets, albums, theater tickets) or "related prizes."

The Ruse


Here's the ruse: The City of Los Angeles permits businesses to erect signs on commercial property advertising their own business. By making these posters ostensible signage for Raffallo's Pizza or other on-site business, rather than advertisements for the movies and other products really being promoted, the company behind them (Culver City–based Contest Promotions LLC) appears to be attempting to skirt laws regulating commercial billboards in Los Angeles.

Contest Promotions LLC has already been in hot water in Washington, DC, where that city's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has fined several local businesses for allowing this sort of billboard to be erected. See this story on Washington news website TBD.

Contest Promotions LLC billboard in Washington, DC. (via TBC.com)

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, the City Attorney is aware of what seems to be an attempt to flout the law and is conducting an investigation.

An extensive list of locations where the blight can be found in Los Angeles is posted here. A complaint to the City Attorney's office about any in your neighborhood might speed up the process of their removal.

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