When ‘Thriving’ Capitalism Is Really ‘Organized Crime’

Current Anti-Advertising Agency CEO Steve Lambert and founder Jordan Selier have posted (, 5/12/09) their letter to the New York Times responding to a May 11 piece that cites one NYC advertising executive asking, “All you have to do is walk out the door for lunch and notice the number of vacant storefronts… so why not get in there and put a message in there?”:

I know why not, because it’s a crime! And I was disappointed that the Times didn’t mention this. Outdoor advertising is regulated by the Department of Buildings for several reasons; so billboards aren’t erected in dangerous places and ways, to regulate advertising to specific districts keeping the city livable, and to prevent persuasive messages from being placed anywhere and everywhere a corporation can buy space.

The Department of Buildings has strict regulations on size and these storefronts turned billboards are simply too large for nearly every commercial district in New York with the exception of Times Square.

Deeming the Times “mistaken in reporting on this as a ‘thriving’ type of advertising emerging from declining economy,” Lambert and Selier would rather the paper “call it what it is, advertisers desperate for profits, committing organized crime and hurting the livability of our city”–and even urge “New Yorkers who care” to “have them removed! Or just tear them down themselves.”