BILLBOARD WATCH-Several months ago, we wrote about a Clear Channel billboard on Lincoln Blvd. in Venice that violated an outdoor advertising industry code regarding the proximity of alcohol ads to schools and places of worship. That ad for New Amsterdam vodka was recently removed, but what’s displayed now on that 52 ft. high, 624 sq. ft. sign? An ad for Camarena tequila.
According to Google Earth’s measurement tool, the billboard is 400 ft. from the preschool pictured above and 430 ft. from the church. There’s also a preschool on an adjacent residential street just over 200 ft. from the billboard. And, as pointed out in the previous article, the sign is on the route of students walking from a bus stop to a charter high school in the neighborhood.
And what’s just 456 ft. from the property that encompasses both the high school and an elementary school? Another Clear Channel billboard advertising a San Bernardino County casino.
What should one conclude from this? That Clear Channel doesn’t care about the “code of industry principles” set forward by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, to which it belongs?
Clear Channel, which has been vigorously lobbying city officials the past few years to allow new digital billboards, makes much of its altruistic activities such as running public service ads for charitable organizations and posting notices for wanted criminals on its billboards.
That community spirit apparently ends when it comes to outdoor ads for alcohol, which accounted for $165 million in alcohol industry ad spending in 2013, according to one study. Other studies have shown a correlation between alcohol advertising and the desire to consume alcoholic beverages, particularly among the under-aged.
If you see billboard ads for alcohol, gambling casinos, strip clubs or any such products and services inappropriate for minors near schools, playgrounds, or churches, please contact us with the address or description of the location. Send to [email protected].
(Dennis Hathaway is the president of the Ban Billboard Blight Coalition and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: [email protected].) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.