Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti wants mobile billboards removed from the streets of Chicago, and he’s making 3,500 phone calls per month to persuade the city to rally with him. According to Fioretti, mobile advertising is a liability, causing distracted drivers, traffic congestion, and even global warming. His proposal to the City Council in September was adamant about putting the kibosh on mobile ads; not only does he want them banned, he also wants to levy a $5,000 fine for any billboard truck that is caught within city limits, with exemptions for only public transportation and taxi cabs.
The irony is, of course, that even the city of Chicago has used mobile billboards to advertise the Head Start preschool program. Whether or not Fioretti is aware of the city’s history, he insists that “we are trying to become a greener city. We are trying to become a clean city, and these mobile billboards just add to the problems of our environment,” he told CBS 2 Chicago.
At least one local media company has protested Fioretti’s anti-mobile-billboard agenda, saying that Fioretti has skewed information about the emissions levels and safety records of mobile billboard trucks. We’re similarly dubious about the proposal, which seems to target mobile advertising unfairly. After all, every vehicle releases noxious fumes that exacerbate global warming—as well as contributes to the gridlock that plagues so many cities. And as for being a distraction: isn’t that what any advertisement, mobile or stationary, is supposed to do? If City Council members ever vote on Fioretti’s proposal, hopefully they’ll tell him as much.