Anti-clutter activists are irked again by the billboard industry's latest affront to good taste. Over the weekend, an office building on Overland Avenue in West Los Angeles put up a five-story supergraphic of a giant frosty coffee beverage as part of McDonald's advertising campaign to break into the fancy java business and compete against mega-chains like Starbucks.
"This is another example of an escalating assault on the city's visual environment by multi-million dollar marketing campaigns," said Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight president Dennis Hathaway. "The sign company gets revenue, the property owner gets revenue, but the city gets nothing and people living in houses less than half a block away get to see this bulbous, in-our-your face sign every time they look out their windows or leave their homes. And because the sign company didn't get permits, there's no way for people to know if the sign is fireproof, or won't come loose in a high enough wind and imperil motorists or pedestrians."
The company that installed the ad got a injunction from a U.S. District Court judge last July barring the city from enforcing its ban on tacky, building-sized ads. In other words, the judge gave Philadelphia based World Wide Rush carte blanche to ignore L.A.'s ban, because the city itself was allowing other kinds of billboard advertising to go up all over town.
Two months ago, World Wide Rush was accused of cutting down
roughly two dozen trees near city-sanctioned billboards. A Caltrans
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official claimed that the trees were cut back last winter, just before
the advertising company put up two large Tropicana Juice ads on a
parking structure at the Sherman Oaks Galleria and a six-story building
on National Boulevard.