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Improved Billboard Touts AT&T and NSA Collaboration
February 28, 2008 1:00 PM   Subscribe

"The Billboard Liberation Front today announced a major new advertising improvement campaign executed on behalf of clients AT&T and the National Security Agency. Focusing on billboards in the San Francisco area, this improvement action is designed to promote and celebrate the innovative collaboration of these two global communications giants." [Via Threat Level.]
posted by homunculus (67 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
One billboard? That's a big press release for one billboard.
posted by OmieWise at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2008


It's a big billboard for what it's worth. It's still up!
posted by ioerror at 1:07 PM on February 28, 2008


First jonmc and now this.
Yikes.
posted by Dizzy at 1:12 PM on February 28, 2008


I love these guys.
posted by malaprohibita at 1:18 PM on February 28, 2008


I applaud the effort, I just wish they'd come up with a wittier slogan. "AT&T WORKS IN MORE PLACES - LIKE NSA HEADQUARTERS" isn't all that clever, although I suppose it gets the message across.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:20 PM on February 28, 2008


I applaud the effort, I just wish they'd come up with a wittier slogan. "AT&T WORKS IN MORE PLACES - LIKE NSA HEADQUARTERS" isn't all that clever, although I suppose it gets the message across.

Huh. I thought it was pretty funny.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:26 PM on February 28, 2008


DecemberBoy, the point is that it's a minimal alteration of the existing AT&T advertising campaign.
posted by cortex at 1:30 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


*takes a bow*
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:35 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, can I come to their house and paint various slogans on the walls?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:36 PM on February 28, 2008


So, can I come to their house and paint various slogans on the walls?

sure, but only because your analogy is so precise.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:38 PM on February 28, 2008 [21 favorites]


Ok first, we never damage the board permanently. Its 20 foot long poster mounted to chip board and then applied with foam picture tape. Comes off easily.

Second, there is a $60 bottle of 12-year Scotch right below the NSA letters with an apology letter to the workers who have to remover our 'improvement'.

Third, if you can think of something funnier there is a HOWTO article on our site. Knock yerself out.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:41 PM on February 28, 2008 [54 favorites]


If we let the culture jammers win, then the culture jammers have already won.
posted by not_on_display at 1:42 PM on February 28, 2008


$60 bottle of 12-year Scotch

Milton, please vandalize my billboard next. (What label, by the way?)
posted by cortex at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Macallan
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:45 PM on February 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Awesome!!
posted by sully75 at 1:46 PM on February 28, 2008


Bravo, BLF. This is still my favorite though.
posted by Brak at 1:47 PM on February 28, 2008


Oh, and on preview:
MetaFilter: Please vandalize my billboard next.
posted by Brak at 1:48 PM on February 28, 2008


Second, there is a $60 bottle of 12-year Scotch ...

Well, in that case...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2008


AT&T. Your World. Delivered. To The NSA.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:53 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Great campaign.
posted by cell divide at 1:53 PM on February 28, 2008


For all that's wrong with Maine, at least we banned billboards.
posted by rusty at 1:57 PM on February 28, 2008


Second, there is a $60 bottle of 12-year Scotch right below the NSA letters...

It's gone. I checked. The apology's still there.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:02 PM on February 28, 2008


Two apologies.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:07 PM on February 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


God I hate that advertising campaign. It makes me want to stab myself in the face with a wire tap.
posted by idiotfactory at 2:13 PM on February 28, 2008


*shakes angry fist at WGP*
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:13 PM on February 28, 2008


This is funny, but it does nothing. Most people unfamiliar with the story won't get it.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:29 PM on February 28, 2008


This is funny, but it does nothing. Most people unfamiliar with the story won't get it. posted by doctor_negative

Eponysterical
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:34 PM on February 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


When I think about the AT&T/NSA situation, I just get so angry and confused. In my mind, it's utterly emblematic of how the USA is broken. A secret conspiracy whose execution potentially violated the constitutional rights of every single US citizen, and all the people responsible for it are free from punishment or even serious censure of any kind...

So now, after-the-fact, we mock them with hacked billboards? I think that I were an American and concerned enough to do something like this, I'd have kidnapped and assaulted a responsible executive instead.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:41 PM on February 28, 2008


Eponysterical

Can we be done with this?
posted by foodgeek at 2:42 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


So now, after-the-fact, we mock them with hacked billboards? I think that I were an American and concerned enough to do something like this, I'd have kidnapped and assaulted a responsible executive instead.

I wasn't given the People's Official Response To This Outrage sash. You are welcome to lash out in your own way.

The BLF has existed since 1977, this is how we ALWAYS respond.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:45 PM on February 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


Eponysterical

this needs to stop.
posted by ORthey at 2:46 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ol5IrnYIfI0

us in action, you saw it here first
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:49 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, I produce a lot of outdoor and billboard artwork in ad agencies. Where is my scotch? Ok, so I didn't work on this campaign...or any other in the USA...but still. I like scotch!

The note of apology and the bottle of scotch will more than please the guys who put up replacement artwork. All outdoor - billboards, transit shelters, bus ads, etc, are printed with extras to allow for "spoilage" (the polite term for OMGWTFVANDALS), so this sort of thing doesn't really cost the client in terms of hard costs, even if the hacked art damaged the original poster. It'll just piss off a few execs, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

In fact, as a confirmed Professional Ad Weasel I must admit I like hearing and seeing this sort of thing go down. Adds a little danger to the industry! OOoOOOoOOoOOOoHHhHhhhhHh danger!

Also, I like scotch.
posted by Salmonberry at 2:54 PM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Eponysterical

Can we be done with this?

Can we be done with that?


this needs to stop.

that needs to stop.

posted by jaronson at 3:00 PM on February 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


So, can I come to their house and paint various slogans on the walls?

No, but NSA can come to your house and listen to your phone calls.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:00 PM on February 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


Ceiling cat is working for AT&T.
posted by The Bellman at 3:05 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


*takes a bow*

Third, if you can think of something funnier there is a HOWTO article on our site. Knock yerself out.

I wasn't given the People's Official Response To This Outrage sash. You are welcome to lash out in your own way.

The BLF has existed since 1977, this is how we ALWAYS respond.


Before MiltonRandKalman started posting in this thread, I was mentally giving the BLF a good deal of credit for being socially conscious and active. But their spokesman has revealed that this is a just an impotent snark* writ large, and the BLF are likely just a bunch of self-aggrandizing, self-interested** prankster hippies.

*Just like this post, yes.
** Just like me, yes.</small?

posted by chudmonkey at 3:07 PM on February 28, 2008


correct on all points except for the part about being hippies...

If you want socially conscious culture jamming, I would suggest Adbusters magazine... we just do this for a gas...seriously.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:12 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Every month of the year, at least a dozen billboards I designed are up all over Sacramento, CA and surrounding communities, and not once have I ever received a bottle of scotch. Thanks a lot.
posted by luriete at 3:23 PM on February 28, 2008


So, really? There's nothing to be gained by helping to ensure that these stories stay alive in the public consciousness? Stuff like this doesn't in any way reinforce the brand association of "AT&T" and "spying on your private calls"?
posted by Squid Voltaire at 3:23 PM on February 28, 2008


I appreciate your reply, MiltonRandKalman, not that I think I could have stopped it.

I'm not interested in socially conscious culture jamming, for the record. When I think about the AT&T/NSA thing and the larger War on Terror umbrella issue, what I really want is a bloody revolution. I want the average American citizen to be so damned insistent on responsible government that a good percentage of the Bush administration and the AT&T Board of Directors wind up in prison, or worse.

The thing is, I realize that a bunch of people defacing a billboard to call attention to such a travesty is better than a bunch of people not doing anything at all, and certainly a lot better than a bunch of people who don't even know that the NSA or AT&T did anything wrong. And I think the billboard gag is funny. But it still makes me sad to know that this billboard is the closest thing some responsible individuals will get to comeuppance, particularly when the pranksters responsible admit that they are only in it for laughs. That makes in base vandalism, in my opinion.
posted by chudmonkey at 3:29 PM on February 28, 2008


Ceiling cat is working for AT&T.

So is Snuggly the Security Bear.
posted by homunculus at 3:30 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


the BLF are likely just a bunch of self-aggrandizing, self-interested** prankster hippies.

Hippies are bad.
posted by homunculus at 3:31 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


But it still makes me sad to know that this billboard is the closest thing some responsible individuals will get to comeuppance, particularly when the pranksters responsible admit that they are only in it for laughs.

I got a few emails asking if they could donate, I told them to give it to the EFF in our name.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:34 PM on February 28, 2008


I can think of one thing that would make a more powerful statement against the egregious actions of AT&T, but no one would get it, and it would be really hard to do.

I just want to see some billboards with the call records of their CEO, CFO, CTO, etc. showing who they spoke with, and how long they talked for. Ideally, I would make sure anything untoward was highlighted to ensure that they had something to answer for.
posted by quin at 3:52 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Macallan

That's good, because if it was Bruichladdich, that might make you a terrorist.
posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not interested in socially conscious culture jamming, for the record. When I think about the AT&T/NSA thing and the larger War on Terror umbrella issue, what I really want is a bloody revolution.I want the average American citizen to be so damned insistent on responsible government that a good percentage of the Bush administration and the AT&T Board of Directors wind up in prison, or worse.

1) Individual outrage
2) Propaganda and communication ??????
3) Mass action

Help me out here.
posted by regicide is good for you at 4:34 PM on February 28, 2008


MiltonRandKalman: we just do this for a gas...seriously.

So, it's sort of LoLCats?
posted by signal at 4:38 PM on February 28, 2008


So, it's sort of LoLCats?

I think that might be an over-simplification. We don't do 'political' hits per se but our work obviously generates debate that spans political discussion about public space. In essence, we don't take ourselves that seriously (see our press releases and mission statement).
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:18 PM on February 28, 2008


the video.
posted by gman at 5:22 PM on February 28, 2008


oopsy daisy.
posted by gman at 5:25 PM on February 28, 2008


*sighs loudly*

That bottle of Scotch... won't someone think of the academics?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:35 PM on February 28, 2008


MiltonRandKalman, I just want to thank you for your work. This kind of thing, IMO, is concentrated awesome in all ways.
posted by JHarris at 7:53 PM on February 28, 2008


Every time I learn of one the BLF's actions, I rejoice that laughter & joy have struck a blow against gravity and despair.
posted by treepour at 8:51 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


bravo
posted by exlotuseater at 8:58 PM on February 28, 2008


Rather worryingly for AT&T, I thought that the original "...places like CHILONDOSCOW" was a hack too, a reference perhaps to the sharing of information with friendly and unfriendly governments. It's an odd ad. Or maybe I should just learn to take some things at face value.
posted by rhymer at 4:34 AM on February 29, 2008


Maybe that's why I love Bruichladdich so much - it's whiskey of mass destruction (of my brain cells, and stomach lining at least...).
Well, that, and the fact that I can pronounce it correctly.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:12 AM on February 29, 2008


Awesome.
posted by Skorgu at 9:03 AM on February 29, 2008


Why we sued the phone company
posted by homunculus at 11:34 AM on March 3, 2008


















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