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Letter to CTA: Halt the annoying U.S. Cellular ad campaign

Following is a letter I emailed today to the CTA's vice president for customer service, Terry Levin. I also sent the same letter to a general email box on the US Cellular's Web site:

Dear Mr. Levin:

Are you aware of the US Cellular ad campaign being conducted on CTA property? Please see my post today:

CTA tattler: When solicitation becomes intrusion

If you are aware and US Cellular is actually paying the CTA to allow them to run this obnoxious campaign, please read some of the comments on my blog from your riders.

We are very annoyed.

If the CTA is not aware of this, it seems to me you should stop it by sending a cease and desist letter to US Cellular.

Thank you.

Kevin O'Neil


oh yes.

They're actually not just on the CTA trains. I spotted one this morning outside Union Station, one at Daley Center, and at lunch one walking along State Street. They *might* have been simply moving between lines, but I think that it's a citywide blanket rather than a focus specifically on CTA.

That would then indicate they do not have the CTA's permission to do so?

It really seems is the CTA can stop people from taking pictures on the platform, then they could stop people from doing this type of stuff. And with the blue faces, much easier to spot.

I don't have a problem with them outside in public spacesas long as they don't block the sidewalks. Just don't take up space and add noise on my crowded train car during rush hour. Another pet peeve: those billboard trucks driving around the Loop.

Just got the following response to my complaint to CTA.

"The CTA has been in contact with U.S. Cellular and its ad agency and we have been assured the "promotion" will cease immediately."

--CTA Customer Service

Thanks, Kevin!

Awesome. This made me think of the billboard trucks too ... file under "man, that's just wrong."

This would also seem to be in violation of the CTA's oh-so-helpful announcement to "please be considerate of others when talking on your cell phone."

this is perfectly legal in a public place, however, i am not aware of the legalities surrounding the space (the air and soundwaves) inside a privately run train that is open to the public.

this raises an interesting question.

It is perfectly legal in a public place, which was how the ad agency was approaching the guerilla marketing campaign (all other idea generations only took public space into consideration). CTA trains were never discussed as appropriate locations for it, and even, if I remember, argued against by those who did ride CTA at the agency.

Just an example where the company the ad was created for, didn't place strict enough guidelines.

curious, just because this is mentioned here ---

"a privately run train" ??? i don't think that the CTA is privately run? IS it? seeing as the top guy gets his job from daley, and they get lots of money from the state and federal gov'ts.

what's the word on that?

sorry, i cut myself off short. i mean, this is why they have to have public hearings and let us look at their budget, right? it IS public space. and let us take pictures (still eagerly awaiting that post!) and stuff.

it's not like a 'public' private space like jewel, where they don't have to let you take pictures (try that and let the manager see you), and where they aren't going to let you see their operating budget for the year unless you're a private stockholder.

you know?

> (try that and let the manager see you)

I have. I said, "would you like me to buy my groceries at Dominick's across the street then?"

The bottom line always wins out over silly rules. (If you allow cameras, though, then the illegal working conditions could be documented and a lawsuit filed. Or someone might compare prices and get a better deal!? The horror. If people are allowed to take pictures in grocery stores, then the terrorists have won!)

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It seems that U.S. Cellular is conducting a misguided no annoying marketing campaign on the streets of Chicago. Actors (there's no other word for it) are posing as regular people, blabbing away on their cell phones in public, loudly, with [Read More]

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