Public relations is a tricky job, especially for the companies that operate illegal signs across Toronto. They’ve already got to deal with a site dedicated solely to putting an end to the practice, an increasingly aware and increasingly concerned populace, and those damned vandals who forgo legal means of dissent by dealing with the problem directly. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Posterchild, a prominent member of (and advocate for) the lattermost group, has decided to lend a helping hand to add some much-needed accountability to the whole operation.
Last Monday—using data gleaned from Rami Tabello’s IllegalSigns.ca—Posterchild stenciled solicitations for feedback below three illegally-run fascia signs downtown (“persistent violators,” as he put it). A play on the now-ubiquitous “How’s My Driving?” slogan typically seen on the back of big rigs, the stencils feature the number of the City’s Building Division, which is, among other tasks, responsible for sign permits. Posterchild, an equal opportunity stenciler, hit one sign each of Astral Media, Titan Outdoor, and Strategic Media. (Titan and Strategic, by the way, are the two companies currently suing the City. And Astral Media is a whole other story.)
See the three offending signs after the fold.
464 Bathurst Street
As Tabello notes, the site—now used by Titan—was formerly abandoned by Maxximum Outdoor because the “sign got vandalized on a daily basis….Somebody was even climbing on the roof and cutting the sign down and paint bombing it.” So, really, this is a step up.
375 Queen Street West
Here, Tabello says, a fascia sign is being operated under a mural permit by Astral Media. (For the distinction between fascia and mural, and the reason why that distinction is important, read Tabello’s explanation. Titan Outdoor is suing the city because, they argue, making the distinction between fascia and mural signs is unconstitutional.)
128 Peter Street
Strategic Media is operating this sign without a permit, says Tabello. Until last week—and when Posterchild put up the stencil—an alcohol ad filled up the frame. When he returned to photograph the sign the day after putting the stencil up, though, the ad was gone. Says Post: “the huge Peter ad was taken down the next day and it appeared as though the stencil was half-heartedly crossed out!” The security camera trained on Post the night before might have had something to do with it.
All photos courtesy of Posterchild.