Microsoft chose New York City to launch the new version of its online service, MSN 8.0. Lucky us.
As part of its campaign, Microsoft has plastered its MSN butterfly logo all over town, in places where it most assuredly doesn’t belong. (They’ve also taken an immense online media buy, featuring a figure who looks remarkably — and probably accidentally — like Arthur, the Tick‘s accountant sidekick. OK, so Arthur’s technically a moth. So what?)
The timing was not good. Two days previously, the city had scraped off Nike decals that appeared around town. Last year, IBM’s “Peace Love Linux” campaign mysteriously appeared on sidewalks all over the place. That one, at least, was chalk and lasted only until the next rain.
A flak for Waggner Edstrom insisted to a NYTimes reporter that the company had a permit to deface the city, but could/would not produce it or name the agency that issued it. New York being New York, I’d bet that WagEd paid some money to someone who said they could help but was just making it up. Just another rube in the Big City.
From the Times (whose web site is carrying a ton of MSN ads, by the way):
“This is nothing more than corporate graffiti,” said Vanessa Gruen, director of special projects for the Municipal Art Society, a civic organization that has long battled commercialization of public space. “It’s no better than all those kids out there tagging subway cars.”
And no more legal, city officials said.
Microsoft was fined … (wait for it) … $50. So it’s symbolic. Given that Microsoft has $40 billion in the bank, it’s hard to imagine an amount that wouldn’t be symbolic. And the last thing the city would want to do would be to fine Microsoft enough to engage it in a lawsuit.