MINNEAPOLIS – Dec. 5, 2013 – In an unusual advertising ploy, an Edina Realty agent in Minneapolis is asking residents to deface his bus bench ads that feature his photo across town.
In fact, he’s turned it into a Facebook contest, asking the public “to do your worst” to his photo in the ads.
Graham Smith thought the contest would be an attention-getting, humorous way to allow street artists to deface his ads with everything from mustaches or stickers to blacked-out teeth. To take part in the “Bus Bench Challenge,” he’s encouraging the public to deface his ads, take a photo next to it, and then tag him in the photos on Facebook. The photo with the most votes on Facebook wins, and the winner receives a $50 gift card.
Smith told Inman News that so far he’s received about a half dozen submissions, mostly from past clients.
His only rule in the contest: You can’t physically destroy the bus bench.
“When people tell me, ‘Did you see your bus bench on this block was vandalized?’ I say, ‘I love it … people notice it,’ “ Smith said.
However, the benches may attract unwanted police attention too. Inman News reports that United States Bench Corp., which provides the city’s benches, says “graffiti is illegal,” and it would not permit advertisers to encourage the public to deface their own ads.
Smith told Inman News that he planned to contact United States Bench about its policy in relation to his ad campaign.
Source: “Edina Realty agent launches ‘Bus Bench Challenge,’ urging people to deface his ads,” Inman News (Dec. 3, 2013)
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