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Legitimacy of Planet Self Storage iPod Advertising Called Into Question


The legitimacy of a massive Apple iPod billboard hanging on the side of Planet Self Storage in the South End of Boston has been drawn into question. The Outdoor Advertising Board has opposed the signage since it went up in 2007, calling it “illegal” and demanding that it be taken down, according to an article in The Boston Globe. But the advertising remains in place, even though its one-year temporary permit expired last fall.
There is debate about whether Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s administration endorsed the oversized display, even though it normally discourages new billboards. Last week David Passafaro, the mayor’s campaign treasurer, acknowledged that he contacted the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 2007 to ask about the process to place the ad on behalf of Greg John, who assembled the ad deal.
John is chairman of a Charleston, Mass.-based branding firm and a regular Menino contributor. In 2007, he created Box I LLC to oversee the Apple ad and other deals. He told the Globe that he followed the process of securing a sign permit according to the law and Passafaro did not intervene on his behalf.
In June, the state attorney general’s office negotiated with the companies behind the ad, requiring that they request a new permit from the city and pay the state $110,000.

The iPod advertising is obscuring a 13,750-square-foot wall mural of whales. The owners of Planet Self Storage claim their ad is exempt from needing approval from the OAB because it promotes sales on the premises. The facility offers iTunes gift cards for sale. Even still, the owners are renovating to include a larger Apple retail space and satisfy the OAB. If it does not satisfy the board, the sign will have to come down in February.
Source: The Boston Globe, Apple gets to fly banner, despite rules

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