If you're waiting for the streetcar at Bienville Street and N. Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City, you've got some reading material. Advertisements for Zatarain's Crab Boil
are painted in the curb cuts in what seems to be a sticker — right across the street from a City Park streetcar stop that takes people to Jazz Fest.
We've been here before, and recently. Last week, chalk ads for a software company were stenciled on sidewalks in the French Quarter, upsetting residents and merchants
. In 2012, Coca-Cola paid local graffiti artists
to lay down Coke logos on French Quarter sidewalks
during the Final Four tournament.
In both cases, city officials pointed out the illegality of the advertising
and ordered it removed immediately:
Sec. 134-128. - Advertisements on streets, telegraph poles, etc., prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to post or paint advertisements of any kind on any street, sidewalk, public buildings, utility poles, light standards, street signs, parking meters, trees located in public right-of-way or traffic signal standards.
Any unlawful posted or painted advertisement on any street, sidewalk, public buildings, utility poles, light standards, street signs, parking meters, trees located in public rights-of-way or traffic signal standard shall be seized and removed.
In the case of Coca-Cola, the company donated $10,000 to the city's Office of Cultural Economy after being cited
According to merchants in the area, it's a campaign by the New York-based firm GoGorilla Media, which promises "to create jaw-dropping guerrilla marketing campaigns that the public won’t soon forget." Bus stop shelters nearby are emblazoned with Zatarain's ads, and two nearby businesses, Mid-City Voudoux Tattoos and Tubby & Coo's book shop, say representatives of GoGorilla contacted them about placing stickers in their shop windows.
An agency representative from Peter Mayer Advertising, which works both with Zatarain's and GoGorilla Media, said Zatarain's is willing to clean up the ads. Asked for a time frame, the agency said they were "working on it."
Kurt Buchert, a Mid-City resident, said he encountered many of the stickers — which add a slick surface to a wheelchair cut-in — on a walk up Carrollton Avenue to New Orleans CIty Park last week. Buchert said he ripped up "probably seven of them."
"It just seemed like littering," Buchert said. "Plus it was a trip hazard. It looked terrible. We have enough trash around town."
Representatives from GoGorilla haven't returned either emails or phone calls. A copy of the company's 2015 media planning guide shows an example of what the company calls "sidewalk media":
A representative from Zatarain's is set to talk about the issue tomorrow. We contacted Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office and the office of District A Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who represents the district where the ads were placed, and will update this post when we hear back from city officials.