The Boston area’s encounter with a publicity stunt by Turner Broadcasting System was a wake-up call. The story is not about whether our safety officials acted foolishly; rather, it’s about a large corporation conspiring to install illegal signs on public property to advertise their product.
Unfortunately, using the premise of free speech, artistic expression and/or economic growth, the marketing industry assumes that it has free reign to spread its “message” anywhere and everywhere. Of course, it does not help that our government is permitting more and more advertising in public areas, e.g. bus stops, train stations, next to highways or wherever else the marketers deem there to be a “captive audience.”
Kudos to two of our political leaders for stepping up to say what happened was a symptom of “corporate greed” (Mayor Thomas Menino) and “marketing run amok” (US Rep. Ed Markey). Massachusetts and the rest of the nation need stricter laws prohibiting unregulated signs, which includes banning them from non-commercial areas. This would relieve people from the ever-increasing assault of being treated like consumers rather than citizens.