CTA Bus Shelters Transformed Into Summer Campsites
Sep29

CTA Bus Shelters Transformed Into Summer Campsites

If you mistook a CTA bus shelter for a summer campsite, there’s a good reason. Five Chicago bus shelters have been transformed to promote camping in Wisconsin. A canvas-tent material covers the top, there’s a yellow camp klaxon rising above and faux-wood posts. There are even fall leaves covering the top. The only thing missing is a roaring fire and the smell of s’mores. Chicago is the only location for the innovative outdoor...

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Chicagoland’s Newest Mall Sets a Record
Oct09

Chicagoland’s Newest Mall Sets a Record

The newest mall in Chicago is the one that’s not in Chicago, but still calls itself The Fashion Outlets of Chicago.  If you haven’t been there yet to load up on quality name brand goods at low low discount prices, you might have seen it as you were driving by on I-294. Apparently, it’s very hard to miss thanks to its exterior being largely clad in video screens.  18,500 square-feet of video goodness, or roughly six...

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Slice of Life: Will Somebody Save Ferris Already?
Aug22

Slice of Life: Will Somebody Save Ferris Already?

At the annual Chicago Air and Water Show, we caught this “Save Ferris” sign written in the sky by the GEICO Skytypers. For those of you who aren’t up on your  aerospace technology, skywriting like we remember from Looney Tunes is passé.  These days five small planes fly in formation and  computer signals each to let out a little fart of smoke to spell words for all to see.  It’s like God’s dot matrix...

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Will Block37’s New Blades Keep People From Skating By?
Aug06

Will Block37’s New Blades Keep People From Skating By?

Months after getting an exemption to a city ordinance prohibiting large signs on its facade, Block37 (1 West Randolph Street) is finally installing metal fins on its exterior that will soon bear the names of the stores within. The downtown mall’s position on the edge between the city’s Theater District and its historic State Street district left it in an unusual situation – it was not allowed to have vertical signs of any...

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Iconic Santa Fe Sign May Change (Update 1)
Apr30

Iconic Santa Fe Sign May Change (Update 1)

If there’s one thing Chicago preservationists hate, it’s signs on downtown buildings.  The only thing they hate more is when existing signs on downtown buildings are changed. That’s the prospect being faced at the Santa Fe Building (224 South Michigan Avenue), formerly known as the Railway Exchange Building.  Motorola is moving a hundred employees from the ‘burbs into the historic 1904 building, and as part of...

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Kemper Sign Lighting Up The Chicago River
Apr27

Kemper Sign Lighting Up The Chicago River

Not to be outdone by our Gold Coast Spy sending in a photo of the new Tommy Bahama Store being constructed inside the Ritz-Carlton Residences (664 North Michigan Avenue), one of our Loop Spies e-mailed this picture of the new Kemper sign all lit up at night. The Kemper sign replaces the Unitrin sign that adorned One East Wacker Drive for years. Previous coverage: New Kemper Sign Adorns Former Unitrin Building on Wacker Drive Week...

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New Kemper Sign Adorns Former Unitrin Building on Wacker Drive
Apr22

New Kemper Sign Adorns Former Unitrin Building on Wacker Drive

Sunday morning, a helicopter crane lifted the new Kemper logo and sign to the top of the former Unitrin Building.  Here are some...

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Slice of Life: Collars for Sale

As a kid I watched a lot of old black-and-white television.  One thing I never understood was how they would talk about buying a new collar for your shirt.  It may seem foreign to us today, but I guess at one time collars were optional equipment on new shirts.   I wonder if sensitivity to the cleanliness of one’s collar is what gave rise to the “ring around the collar” advertisements I remember so well. Regardless,...

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More Rogue Ads on Chicago Streets

Sony learned its lesson.  So did IBM.  But Zipcars… not so much. The vehicle sharing service which promotes itself as an environmentally friendly alternative to owning a car appears to be guilty of visual pollution. A number of big companies have done similar things — putting graffiti on city sidewalks in order to push their products.  IBM did it with Linux.  Sony did it with the PSP.  In both...

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Another Store Turned Into an Ad

We’ve written about this before — the desperation of marketers to reach the Michigan Avenue audience while most of the area remains billboard-free.  But what was once creative — turning empty storefronts into giant billboards — has now become cliche. The latest one we came across is an ad for yet-another end-of-the-world movie plastered all over the vacant retail space at the base of the 50 East Chestnut...

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