Apple's 'illegal' Boston billboard at center of political controversy

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A giant iPod touch billboard in Boston deemed illegal due to its size and location is at the center of a political controversy involving the city's mayor.



Despite the fact that a 13,750-square-foot iPod touch banner on the side of a Boston self-storage building was declared illegal by the Massachusetts Outdoor Advertising Board, the massive advertisement has remained since the fall of 2007 with and without special permits. According to The Boston Globe, the companies behind the billboard agreed to pay the state $110,000 for a settlement in June -- the largest known payment for any such advertising dispute.



The report suggested that the deal was reached with some assistance: A top campaign aide to Mayor Thomas M. Menino admitted to helping a business acquaintance behind the advertising agreement work his way through the permitting process. That acquaintance has also donated the maximum-allowed political campaign contribution of $500 to Menino every year since 2005.



The report said the mayor eventually endorsed the giant outdoor billboard, despite what the Globe called his administration's "usual discouragement of new billboards."



The one-year temporary permit for the iPod ad expired last fall, but the partners behind it did not file for a new permit until June, when the $110,000 settlement with the state was reached.



"The Outdoor Advertising Board has argued since 2007 that the ad?s owners should have sought its approval for the sign," the report said. "If they had, it would have been rejected because of its size and proximity to other signs, according to Edward J. Farley, the board?s executive director."



It continued: "The owners, however, said they are exempt because their ad promotes sales on the premises: Inside the Planet Self-Storage facility, a customer can buy iTunes gift cards, along with packing tape and locks."



Photo credit Yoon S. Byun, The Boston Globe.



In 2008, Apple opened a flagship store in Boston, at 815 Boylston St. It is a three-story building fronted by glass, with a large 6,384 square feet of floor space.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    That's the bigger ad i ever seen! REALLY BIG!
  • Reply 2 of 42
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    What a rundown hood. Must be near a railway or highyway.

    Or does all of Boston look like that?
  • Reply 3 of 42
    bedouinbedouin Posts: 331member
    Good thing the city has time and money to waste bickering about how big a sign is rather than something actually productive.
  • Reply 4 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "The owners, however, said they are exempt because their ad promotes sales on the premises: Inside the Planet Self-Storage facility, a customer can buy iTunes gift cards, along with packing tape and locks."



    hahaha, brilliant.
  • Reply 5 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    What a rundown hood. Must be near a railway or highyway.

    Or does all of Boston look like that?



    Yes indeed - you move back 50 more feet and the photographer will be under an elevate highway; in a semi-industrial area of the city. So site wise, you got 100K+ cars seeing this every day. The ad does also change from time to time.



    Local paper also is covering this - latest article here. Ironically, the other Boston paper is across the street, and has their own billboards on their building advertising their paper, and they're really dull and boring



    I actually walk past it every day on my way into work. While I don't mind this particular billboard, I do see the issue of letting any building put any ad on the side of their 8 story building.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    dogcowdogcow Posts: 713member
    View from google streetview: http://tinyurl.com/yzx6bpr



    It's covering that whale mural, on the side of a major highway.



    The mayor, who is running for re-election is very particular about things like this. I'm not surprised he is involved.
  • Reply 7 of 42
    apparently some people have nothing better to do
  • Reply 8 of 42
    That is one big honking billboard. Trying to call it onsite advertising (i.e., a sign) instead of offsite advertising (a billboard) probably only works if Boston doesn't have any sign regulations. That seems unlikely.
  • Reply 9 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Trying to call it onsite advertising (i.e., a sign) instead of offsite advertising (a billboard) probably only works if Boston doesn't have any sign regulations.



    Hey, it's Boston.....



    (I should elucidate. There's an old saying: "The law applies to enemies; interpretations of the law apply to friends").
  • Reply 10 of 42
    I've seen bigger ads coming down either I-90 or 290 going into Chicago. Back in the Bulls hey-day they had a controversial Dennis Rodman ad which actually slowed down traffic. More recently I see Bud Light ads take up entire sides of buildings in similar fashion as this.
  • Reply 11 of 42
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,003member
    Can you see it from space?
  • Reply 12 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Hey, it's Boston.....



    (I should elucidate. There's an old saying: "The law applies to enemies; interpretations of the law apply to friends").



    Just like in Chicago?



    Old joke: A very elderly woman announces to her friends and family that she will be moving to Chicago, a place where she has never lived. When asked why she says, "I expect to die soon, but I'd like to be able to continue voting."
  • Reply 13 of 42
    js29js29 Posts: 44member
    I thought Mayor Menino was dead? LINGER LONGER!
  • Reply 14 of 42
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I can see regulating a billboard on the side of a road, but not a sign on a building. Seems like there is free speech issues involved.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    This is a travesty: there is NO NEED to clutter up an iPod gaming ad by showing the earbud cord, when the device has a speaker
  • Reply 16 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    I can see regulating a billboard on the side of a road, but not a sign on a building. Seems like there is free speech issues involved.



    Not really. A billboard is defined as off-site advertising. Doesn't matter if it's freestanding on a pole or on the side of a building.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    -cj--cj- Posts: 58member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    This is a travesty: there is NO NEED to clutter up an iPod gaming ad by showing the earbud cord, when the device has a speaker



    lol... so true.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    In Los Angeles people and some in City Hall have been fighting the supergraphics billboard companies for years because they put these things up without getting permits first. It is like do first, ask for forgiveness later.



    As a result, many people hate these signs, stunning as they are.



    Apple should play completely by the rules. Take it down! If they get proper permits later, they can put it back up.
  • Reply 19 of 42
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    I can see regulating a billboard on the side of a road, but not a sign on a building. Seems like there is free speech issues involved.



    the real question for this forum is whether you'd say that if it were an ad for the Zune!
  • Reply 20 of 42
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    Politics as usual for beantown.
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