Clear Channel Outdoor may not care about erecting massive flashy ads-on-poles without a permit -- and will do anything in its power to keep the Weekly from finding out about it -- but it really, really cares about possible homicide victims. (And -- this just in -- is suing the city for not letting all that illegal signage run free in Westwood!)
Latching onto the hottest news item in L.A., Clear Channel has donated space on 150 billboards to the L.A. City Council and LAPD, aka the greater good, so they can advertise a batch of photos found in the possession of L.A. serial killer the Grim Sleeper.
Hmmm... 180 creepy old pics of maybe-dead chicks staring us down as we wallow in rush-hour misery on the 5?
No, actually. It's a lot less exciting than that.
Here's what the 150 billboards (including 86 supergraphics) will look like:
Layne Lawson, director of public affairs for the SoCal division of Clear Channel Outdoor, says his billion-dollar corporation has been involved in the glam serial-killer hunt since 2008, when LA Weekly reporter Christine Pelisek pried the Grim Sleeper evidence from its state of back-room secrecy at the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division.
(Yes, same Pelisek that ripped the curtain off Clear Channel for the lawless billboard metropolis it were unleashing upon Los Angeles. We were kind of surprised they called back.)
Up until now, though, Clear Channel has only lent out space in City Councilman and former Police Chief Bernard Parks' district, where the Sleeper was caught. As of yesterday, Lawson says, the ad-space giant is shaking hands with even more council goobs and spreading that love throughout the rest of the city. We totally called this in 2008:
"Watch for more and more LA City Council members to announce fantastic new "public service" uses for the thousands of billboards, legal and illegal, that now clutter Los Angeles, while other cities -- newly attractive and livable -- continue to remove billboards."
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Of course, since the supergraphic 'boards are on eight-ad rotations, sticking a pro-bono one in there is practically costless, and worth its weight in good publicity. (Well, mostly good. Sorry guys.)
But anyway. Forty-eight non-digital ads were also erected last night between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. -- so keep your eye out. And whether or not the billboards are to thank, LAPD are reporting today that response calls to the photos will probably reach 1,000 by the end of the day.
"They'll be there as long as we can keep them up," says Lawson, super duper glad to help. "Until the LAPD tells us to take them down."
On a side note -- isn't plastering a giant, intriguingly homicidal web link across a freeway billboard sort of a recipe for 10,000 rear-enders? What with the infamous L.A. commute in such a state of holiday hullabaloo.