"An unusual billboard on the West Side Highway is turning some heads and stirring some controversy. Ingrid Kelley has more."

Watching New York 1 (a public station devoted to just local news of the 5 boroughs).

A segment came on about a "controversial billboard" at 44th and 12th Avenue, a heavily traveled commuter artery on the West Side of Manhattan. A company called Manhattan Mini Storage has a facility there. I've been to it to store the end-year files for my previous job. Manhattan Mini Storage is not a proponent of wasted space, so they advertise on the most visible side of their own building. The current advertisement, and the subject of the NY1 report? Here's the text:


(A clothes hanger is imposed on the backgroung.)

The only male interviewee on-camera in this piece says: "Oh, I think it's kind of crazy that they put it up there like that. I think it's, um, a little disrespectful, I think it's, um, a little inconsiderate, I think, and it's big. And it's, it's not hidden, I, people can see it." [Yes, I get that he may have taken that exactly worded view to ensure a place on camera. The piece is introduced saying an offended woman emailed NY1 about the billboard.] All the other interviewees in this piece are women, and express pro-choice views on the billboard. To me, that does say something about NY1's journalistic determination. Maybe just the producer of this piece... But still.

To bring this into perpective, though, and to get back to the point I initially struck in my own head while watching the segment, let me paraphrase (I can't find them on Google Image) some other recent adds from Manhattan Mini Storage. These have appeared, over the last ten months or so, on bus stops, movie theaters, buses, subway platforms, cigarette butt stands outside bars, and free postcards. In other words, in places that reach, per capita, far more eyes than the billboard on 12th Avenue and 44th Street.

Your closet is tinier than a runway model's lunch
Your closet's so shallow it makes Paris look deep [they got a cease and desist letter for this one]
[from a plastic toy soldier] My owner's Ma stationed me here til there ain't so much real shooting
Your closet's scarier than Bush's agenda [Republican leaders raised hell about this one]
Your closet's so narrow it makes Cheney look liberal [curiously, not so much about this one]
The Democrats cleaned house, why don't you?
Some of the above ad templates can also be found in a no-longer-online article for the New York Sun entitled, "Storage Company Ads Too Political For Some Tastes."

In an older ad-campaign, the company was always lauded by some gay groups for an ad that featured text along the lines of storage items including: "Chemistry Set, Vinyl Albums, Boyfriend's Artwork" alongside the picture of a young man.

Perhaps it's just my registered Democrat self asking this, but why would the Pro-Choice billboard be such the "controversial" one? Why is this the one getting the TV coverage? (And why can't New York 1 be a little more broad than to have one man in the report, expressing the less-than-liberal view, while all the women halk for pro-choice.) (Not that I wouldn't have. Please. I would have been up there going on tangents about Bill Frist and John McCain and you don't even know whom.)