A nationwide transit-based outdoor advertising initiative demanding that Congress end the government shutdown was announced at a press conference Monday at a West Palm Beach law office by a coalition of Americans calling themselves, ‘Vehicles for Democracy’ (VFD). The coalition is placing outdoor advertising signs formatted as petitions that people can actually sign on bus exteriors, at train stations, airports and other outdoor venues frequented by millions of people daily.
The message, say coalition organizers, is clear: Congress must reopen the American government now.
With Congressional and presidential approvals at all time lows, political and polling analysts predict the unique outdoor advertising campaign will garner millions of voter signatures and possibly give rise to a grass roots effort to overhaul Congress.
After the press conference on Friday, examiner.com got an exclusive interview with coalition leader, Jay Schorr, owner of TMR Multimedia, a Hollywood, Florida-based communications company that created the cutting-edge outdoor advertising campaign to end the government shutdown.
When asked what differentiated his campaign from other government reform initiatives, Schorr said that “Most importantly, the support for this initiative cuts across party, socio-economic, and racial lines. People have had it with Congress and the government shutdown. And this time, the stakes are nothing less than the future of America.”
Schorr said that by reaching out to Americans where they live, work, and play, particularly in public transportation venues where millions congregate each day, “is one of the best ways to connect with the public zeitgeist; to really gauge public opinion in real time. People can actually sign the ads that are posted on bus exteriors, railway stations, airports, bus shelters, and other outdoor ads which are formatted as a petition.
“There’s even a smart chip embedded on the sign so voters can use their smartphones to sign. I guess it’s the only legal form of graffiti,” Schorr proferred.
For political activism, like helping end the government shutdown, Schorr says the option to sign the outdoor ads allows people to actually do something about a stalled political system; to reprimand Congress in the form of overt public prodding.
The applications for the signable outdoor ads are numerous, said Schorr, especially when embedded chips are included to facilitate instantaneous data collection, market research, polling, and other uses.
“The information we can cull from these signable outdoor ads is varied and comprehensive,” he said.
Veteran outdoor advertising executive Leith El-Hassan, a senior vice president at Circle Graphics, the country’s largest outdoor advertising printer, agrees with Schorr.
“I am very intrigued by Jay’s idea to tap, poll and engage the public through the use of interactive transit advertising,” said El-Haasan, who handles out-of-home (OOH) advertising for some of America’s biggest corporations and non-profits. “Transforming a bus shelter into a polling booth, a train station into a signature drive, phone kiosks become neighborhood confessionals- all while helping us all feel like we are being heard.”
El-Hassan is especially excited about the interactivity component of the outdoor ads – the embedded computer chips that drive the user interface – which he believes is the wave of the future for market research.
“People waiting for a train or bus can easily input their personal preferences for a product color, style, candidate, or whatever, and be incentivized on the spot with a swipe of their smartphone.”
For Schorr and the VFD coalition, the bus- and train-based outdoor advertising campaign to end the government shutdown is most fitting. Because, as Schorr says, “Congress is taking the country for a ride. Time get on-board for real reform.”