The management of Pattison, which offers both digital and traditional out-of-home media in Canada, got a shock on Monday, discovering that the company’s pillar billboards on Toronto’s Simcoe Street had been covered with artwork over the weekend.
No less than 41 Pattison boards had been hacked with clients’ advertising replaced with ‘art’. Apparently behind the nasty stunt were 15 members of Public Art Campaign, a New York-based activist group, who allegedly targeted the boards for being illegal.
According to Randy Otto, Pattison’s president, the billboards were installed legally, but had not yet been switched over to comply with a new harmonized OOH bylaw. (See Daily DOOH’s April 8, 2010 article.) Pattison has reportedly been in talks in the City of Toronto over the issue – but is also fighting the city against its controversial Third Party Sign Tax in court – due to be heard early this fall.
Otto has publicly expressed disappointment that a reporter and photgrapher from The Toronto Star daily newspaper tagged along with the activists so as to produce Monday’s news story – which was how he learned of the event.
Pattison is currently working to put its clients’ advertisements back onto the boards.