Archive for April, 2011

Signs You May Be Overexposed to Advertising

Back in the 1950’s, an advertising officer for General Mills made a speech in which he cited “research” showing that the average American was being exposed to over 1500 advertising messages every day. At least, that’s how the media interpreted his comments. It may have really been closer to 400 messages a day, but the 1500 figure stuck.

Throughout the “Madmen” period of advertising in the 1960’s and 1970’s (When the business was actually fun!), those of us lucky enough to be involved touted the same number, 1500, to help clients realize the need to stand above the “noise” and the “clutter” of so many daily messages. And, we did good memorable advertising.

Leaping ahead to 2011, I would guess the numbers of daily message exposures to be greatly increased, primarily because of all the bits and bytes out there. And, with increasing ambivalence to those messages, all over your email and everything else you look at, we hardly pay attention to any of them. Even when they pop up on the street and smack you in the face.

And some of those “smack you in the face” moments are starting to appear in Downtown Denver. Denver by the Slice wrote about it last November at this item.

Rendering of Sign, Branded Cities website

The Denver Theater District, a business development group behind the make-over of 14th Street, and, ostensibly a supporter of theater, has added some giant signs recently. Both along 14th and near the theaters there…and, now…as promised…on the 16th Street Mall. Bright.

Initially reported as 18′ x 32′, the sign wraps the orner above the street at the Champa Square Building, 1600 Champa. It is big and bright. 51 minutes of advertisements every hour. A few minutes of promotion for groups and events. The past week saw an awful lot of the Hawaiian Islands complete with palm trees and outrigger canoes. Lots of advertising.

Over on 14th Street, the electronics have been there a while, sometimes with art and events. But, added to some giant printed posters for products and retailers like Target without a Downtown presence.

Target, from Branded Cities website

All of this is brought to us by an Arizona company called Branded Cities. They seem to be turning us into a Times Square with all these lights and LED’s. But, the environment and landscape of Times Square is big and very tall, and it can absorb the signs much more readily than Downtown Denver. It’s a matter of scale.

Branded Cities is doing this to other cities as well, and you can read about them (with pictures) at their website here. Their mantra is called “Brandscaping, a blending of brands with consumer activities.”

Bright lights smacking you in the face, and it causes us to want to look away. That’s not effective, memorable or pleasing advertising…today, or back in the day.

This Sign Went Out

On a related note, a new business called Yogurt Time opened this month off Platte Street, next to Colt & Gray at the base of the 16th Street I-25 Pedestrian Bridge. They are nice, hard working people. For a few days, they had a very bright electronic sign attached to the brick facade. and it really did not fit the neighborhood. Now, it’s gone. But, the yogurt’s good in lots of flavors, and they’ll be happy if you find them on your own!  That’s called “Word of Mouth”!

You Were Sent a Ballot for a Reason!

It’s time, Denver. Sure, there’s likely to be a runoff for the Mayor’s office. Of course, there will be a runoff for Council District 8. But, there is no reason to let someone else decide who you’ll have to choose from in that runoff.

Vote. It matters. Mayor, Clerk, Auditor, Council District 8, Council District 9 and Council at Large. These people determine a lot about how your life in the city goes day to day. It matters.

Ballots can be mailed for just 61 cents. Do it now. Worst case, take your ballot by the Denver Election Division office at 200 West 14th. 8-6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday. 7-7 on Election Day, Tuesday, May 3. Yes, they have a drive-thru drop.

People Downtown are usually pretty good at voting and voting correctly. Join us!

Picture This! Free Saturday Brunch at Translations Gallery!

It’s the first of the “Meet the Artists” Brunch series at the gallery, 1743 Wazee Street in LoDo. Free and open to the public. Gallery owner Judy Hagler has invited you to spend some time with three of the artists from the current show, “Photography: Capturing Space, Texture and Time.” You read about the opening of this exhibit here at Denver by the Slice just a couple of weeks ago.

Recent Work, Diane Huntress, "See Co", 27"x35"

This week’s featured artists are Alex Benison, Izah Gallagher and Diane Huntress. They’ll be happy to share brunch with you…and discuss their work on view.

Come by Translations Gallery this Saturday between 11 and 2. Satisfy your appetite for fine photographic art, conversation…and breakfast!

This Is One Hard Seat to Fill!

Carla Madison. District 8 City Council of Denver. Her death a couple of weeks ago was a shock to most of her friends and to her constituents in the district which includes a good part of Downtown Denver.

But, last Saturday, at the Museum of Nature and Science, hundreds gathered to celebrate her life at what was described as a party she would have loved. And, everybody loved her.

She was running unopposed for reelection to her council seat in this week’s election. But, now voters have to choose someone from a list of dozens of write-in candidates to try to fill that seat. Can’t be done.

Her motor scooter held its own vigil outside the celebration, decorated just as colorfully as Carla usually was when riding it.

A bright light went out. A bright light lives on. Thank you, Carla!

(Photo Diane Huntress)

Rio Grande Plan for Patio Could Be Up the Creek!

Downtown has its share of destination restaurants and clubs. And, residents. Judging by the lines, especially on weekends, outside the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 1525 Blake Street, it’s not surprising they would look for a way to expand.

Rules of Engagement

And, what better way than to quadruple the size of the outdoor patio…and their hours of operation. Back on February 16, an article at Westword.com touted both the spring-like weather and Rio Grande’s plans for the new outdoor space. 3,300 square feet, heaters, walkways, space for a film projector, and “even an outdoor kitchen.” Specialty drinks would be served on the patio, described by Manager Derek Stoldt as being like an “urban campground.” Then, they started building. And, they are still building.

But, they neglected to secure the necessary permits and upgrades to their alcohol permits required by the city. They actually seemed to be unaware that their space changes would require a trip to the excise folks. The Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association (LoDoNA) brought that to their attention.

As always, with a new business, or a business change resulting in license changes, LoDoNA sought to come to an agreement with the business through its Good Neigbor Committee. Most establishiments in LoDo have agreements with the neighborhood relating to street noise, music, and outside areas affecting the residents of the area. In the case of the Rio Grande, which has been a good neighbor, LoDoNA simply wanted the Rio Grande to operate the new expanded patio in the way they operated the existing one – with restricted hours and no loud music. Rio Grande has refused to agree with any restrictions apart from a 1 a.m. closing time for the patio. (Until now, Rio Grande has posted its hours ending at 11 on Fridays and Saturdays, but now states on its website that new hours until midnight will start on April 29.)

The Neighborhood Association feels that Rio Grande’s current attitude means they want late crowds… loud. And, there are residential spaces literally a few feet from the patio.

Rio Grande presents its case for the necessary new permits on Friday, April 22. LoDoNA presents its opposing case, petitions and witnesses a week later on the 29th. With an agreement, though, LoDoNA would likely support the liquor permit.

That’s the way neighborhoods should work. Talk and reasonably agree. We all live here.

Downtown Sign of the Times

"It's only half past twelve, but I don't care. It's five o'clock somewhere!"

75 Years Young! The Man Deserves a Fanfare!

Bob Montgomery and Friend

Bob Montgomery is a LoDo resident, neighbor, gentleman and friend. He is also a world-renowned jazz trumpeter. So, what better way to celebrate his 75th Birthday on April 21 than with a jam session of 25 jazz musicians at Dazzle?

Call them (303-839-5100) to see if you can still get in. 7-10 p.m. Then, read this excerpt from Bob’s website.

 Bob Montgomery is an internationally recognized performing artist who has appeared throughout Europe, Australia, Canada, China, Mexico, Japan, Great Britain and the United States. He has performed in back-up orchestras for such artists as Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Nancy Wilson, and many more. Bob toured Europe with Clark Terry’s “Big Bad Band”, served as artist-in-residence in Adelaide, South Australia, appeared as featured soloist with the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra for the International Trumpet Guild, and appeared at Town Hall in New York City with Clark Terry for the New York JVC Jazz Festival’s tribute to Clark Terry.

Bob’s reputation as an educator has earned him many awards, including “Teacher of the Year”, “Jazz Educator and Performer of the Year”, and “Colorado Jazz Educator Of The Year”.

But, you already knew that, didn’t you?

Happy Birthday, Bob. And, many, many more years of your beautiful sounds!