Things San Franciscans despise: sidewalk advertising


San Francisco is a city of people who are indecisive and disagreeable. We even manage to disagree about really basic things, to the point where basic issues like panhandling and slow public transportation go unsolved for decades.

But when corporations use litter and graffiti as a form of advertising, San Franciscans have a rare moment of clarity and unity. The same way we’re against fighting for oil in the middle east, we’re willing to hold protests and call in the national guard over advertising agencies stenciling our sidewalks.

We didn’t stand for Levi’s or Microsoft spray-painting our sidewalks. Today, we won’t stand for HP littering the city either. They’ve put QR code posters up on the sidewalks and on street poles all over the Mission.

(Side note: did you know that HP stands for “Horrible Printer”? Now you know.)

Why are San Franciscans against sidewalk advertising? Well, first of all, public space is for the people, not for corporations. A coffee stand at the park? NO! A taco truck on the street outside Best Buy? NO! Oh wait a sec, those tacos are delicious. You know what? Never mind. We’ll discuss this later… OM NOM NOM.

Second, corporate advertising on public property offends our artistic sensibilities. Public art is fine with San Franciscans, and even though we can’t agree on whether or not graffiti is art, we can agree that corporate graffiti is NOT art. Art isn’t supposed to be an expression of greed unless you’re really ironic about it, like Andy Warhol or the guy who makes OBEY merchandise.

Now, every rule as its exceptions, and I found one down the street from the offensive HP sidewalk pollution.


I think it’s safe to say that a handmade flier taped to the sidewalk advertising a party at El Rio is an exception to our “no sidewalk advertising” rule. Because, well, we make exceptions for things we enjoy — like tacos.