The Lingering Ghost

On a bright summer day in 1996, Kate McDonnell was wandering through an alley in the eastern Plateau when she spotted the remnants of a hand-painted tobacco ad on the wall of an old triplex. Fifteen years later, Kate ventured down the same alley and, sure enough, the ad was still there, a bit more […]

Selling a City, Selling a Spirit, Selling a Car

[youtube][/youtube] “Chrysler: Born of Fire”, presented during the last Super Bowl Am I the only one that feels the spirit of a city in this advertisement? I believe Chrysler and Eminem were able to capture the true identity of this American city. I could say that I enjoy the way they first present Detroit as […]

Tunnel Vision: Subway Zoetrope

[vimeo][/vimeo] Bill Brand’s “Masstransiscipe” installation in New York’s subway I first noticed subway tunnel wall animations in Boston, where the long gaps between stations on the MBTA Red Line provides a captive audience. The animation, composed of dozens of stills that simulated movement as the train zoomed by, was an ad. The message: visit Vermont […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Transportation, United States, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Tunnel Vision: Subway Zoetrope , , , , , , ,

Promoting Cycling in Germany

C’est l’été et les responsables de bike sharing ne lésinent pas sur les arguments de choc pour encourager l’usage du vélo ! “Avec moi, tu consommes au minimum 300 calories par heure.” / “With me, you burn at least 300 calories an hour.”

Beirut: Signs of Postwar Politics

Posters along the former green line calling for “real change.” After years of foreign/militia rule, the Lebanese navy reasserts itself through this poster featuring a group of scowling teenage boys. “We’re back!” reads the caption in the lower left. Should we feel threatened or reassured?

Posted in: Africa and Middle East, Politics, Public Space by Patrick Donovan Comments Off on Beirut: Signs of Postwar Politics , , ,

The West Rail Ring

[youtube][/youtube] This new ad for the recent extension of the Hong Kong MTR’s West Rail Line, which now runs from Tsim Sha Tsui all the way out to Tuen Mun, via the farm fields, housing estates and wife cakes of Yuen Long, straddles a line between parallel traditions of public transit advertising: the earnest and […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Transportation, Video by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The West Rail Ring , , , , ,

J’vous emmene?

[youtube][/youtube] It’s got nothing on Il fait beau dans l’métro, but this 1985 TV spot certainly ranks up there in the pantheon of kitschy transit ads. What kind of bugs me about it is that the metro is taking this very fashionable couple from their living room to a restaurant and a swimming pool, yet […]

East End, West End, on fume tout de même

This is what makes ghost ads in Montreal more interesting than in most places: more than just a window into the past, they reveal the city’s linguistic geography, past and present. Here we have two examples of early-twentieth-century tobacco ads revealed by recent building demolitions. One, on east-end Masson Street in Rosemont, is in French. […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Heritage and Preservation, History by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on East End, West End, on fume tout de même , , , ,

Taxi Ads

For some reason, I’d never really considered how and where Hong Kong’s taxicabs are plastered with advertising, so I was somewhat amused to wander into a group of guys doing just that in an out-of-the-way part of the North Point waterfront.

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Transportation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Taxi Ads , , ,

The Antlerheads Come to Montreal

Earlier this week, while walking to a friend’s place on Coloniale Street on the Plateau, I came across an unusual piece of street art. Pasted on an abandoned mattress that was leaning against the side of a building, it depicted the body of a skinny-jeaned, cardiganed hipster topped by the head of a motorized scooter. […]

Wan Chai Ghost Ad

Just off Stone Nullah Lane, in an old and quiet part of Wan Chai above the Queen’s Road, I came across this old advertisement on the side of an apartment building. Duk hau wai cheung tong yue, it reads — “Special Stomach Pills.”

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Wan Chai Ghost Ad , ,

Doot doot doot! Doot doot doot!

[youtube]xM1bQt-6y6w[/youtube] I’ve already written about transit ads in Montreal, Paris and Milwaukee. Now it’s time for Hong Kong. With several competing bus companies and a metro system that is constantly being expanded, Hong Kong is in many ways a public transit user’s paradise. That can be seen in the regularity with which the company that […]

Delay No Mall

[youtube]MzH-orX0nDc[/youtube] These two videos show a guerilla ad campaign for Delay No Mall, a trendy lifestyle store that opened in Hong Kong last month. It’s an offshoot of G.O.D., a fashion company with products inspired by Hong Kong’s local culture, including some that have gotten it into trouble with the local authorities. (“Delay No Mall” […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Video by Laine Tam 1 Comment ,

Safe to Say…

Montreal has eight American Apparel locations, more than any other city but New York and LA, but our streets are devoid of the company’s notorious advertisements, except for those on the stores’ façades themselves. (The back pages of our weekly newspapers, however, are another story.) In New York, though, American Apparel has made a mark […]