Times Square Ads Becoming Smarter, Dumber, More Uncomfortably Orwellian


If you’ve ever thought to yourself that just one seven-story digital image of Nancy Grace isn’t enough, then today’s your lucky day.

This morning, five of the companies behind the massive Times Square ads known as “spectaculars” — among them, Clear Channel, ABC and News Corp — gathered to announce that they’d be joining forces to offer advertisers access to all their signs at the same time. Until now, marketers typically bought space on one sign at a time.

The group is calling itself “Times Square Domination,” because apparently “Evil Galactic Empire” was already taken (and for the record, couldn’t you just picture the CEO of Clear Channel walking out onto a podium in Times Square and saying something like, “Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational cacophonous tourist mecca,” and then firing a laser blast that destroys Weehawken?).

Among the eventual plans for the Times Square consortium, beyond simply providing package deals to increase ad revenue, is the creation of a series of interactive promotional billboards that will try to involve pedestrians passing by them. We’re talking ads that speak to your cellphone or lead you to street teams whose job is to jump out in front of you with crap you don’t want and make your trek through Times Square even more treacherous.

Not that any of this will likely affect anyone who actually lives here. Certainly not if Montgomery Burns gets elected.