SANTA GIVES MORE TO RICH KIDS THAN POOR KIDS
This was part of my Fine Art, (Environmental Art) degree show at Glasgow School of Art.
Originally I was going to put up a billboard with Maiden Outdoor, advertising directly to both children and adults, telling them some unsettling truths about Santa Claus. (For more on my justification for this project click here.) I had the poster printed, (£130) and ready for posting. Then the day before it was to go up, I got a phone call from Maiden: Due to the press finding out (via the press release I had sent them,) and the fact it was such a "contentious" issue, the board was not going up, end of story.
The newspapers thought the story had legs though. The guy at Maiden I had been organising it with, who had been really nice up until that point, now hated me. On the day the poster was meant to go up the papers ran the story, he rang & grimly told me to enjoy my 15 minutes of fame.
I rang around for a couple of weeks looking for another company with no luck. The last name on my list was Clear Channel. They're the world's largest owner of billboards and hardly likely to step into something that had already generated 'controversy' in the press the first time around.
Bizarely though they said yes, were really lovely and even offered me a choice of sites. I didn't push my luck by asking them if they were aware of the newspaper coverage. I was just glad to get my degree show back on track.
[Click images to enlarge]
Reaction online was and still has been staggering. I recieved emails from all over the world including, my favourite, one from a Native American Chief, supporting my efforts. And a few whimsical death threats and Gas Price Forum members debating whether I should be burnt or decapitated first.
The Scotsman - Santa Slated on Art Billboard
The Guardian - Student Art Attacks Commercial Spirit of Christmas
The Scotsman - Anti-Santa Poster Scrapped
The Herald - Santa Posted Missing For Billboard Artist
The Sun - Santa 'Lie' Poster Scrapped
Education Guardian - Student's Anti-Santa Poster Scrapped
Evening Times - Anti-Santa Billboard is Pulled
CNEWS (Canada) - Anti-Santa Billboard Is Nixed
WFTV (USA) - Billboard Questioning Santa's Existence Veoted By Company
First Coast News (USA) - Billboard Questioning Santa's Existence Is Scrapped
Same story on - NBC3 / KESQ News 3 / WAVY / ABC 7 KVIA / WHO TV / WANE TV / KTRE ABC 9 / KASA FOX 2 / KPLC / KFOR / WBOC TV 16 / KFVS / North County Times (All USA)
Kansas Evening Star (USA) - Here's One House Santa Will Skip
The Seattle Times (USA) - Billboard Questioning Santa Claus Is Scrapped
Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) - Santa Expo Scrapped
Chicago Tribune (USA) - Ho Ho Hold It! Billboard Questioning Santa Axed
Mail & Guardian (South Africa) - 'Stop Lying To Your Children About Santa'
Art Info - 'Scottish Artist Causes Stir With 'Santa' Posters'
The Learning Channel (USA) - Scottish Children Told Santa Doesn't Exist
ABC 7 - 'Poster in Scotland Disputes Myth of Santa'
Same story in The Boston Globe / ABC News / Pioneer Press / Dateline Alabama / Grand Forks Herald / Kansas City Star / The Witchia Eagle / The LA Times / Ledger Enquirer / M Live / NY Newsday / Newsday / Courier Times / Sun Sentinel / The Daytona Beach News / The Ledger / WRAL / Tuscaloosa News (ALL USA)
The Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) - 'Santa 'Tool of Consumerism' 28/05/05
The Daily Times (Pakistan) - 'Santa Doen't Exist'
IOL (South Africa) - 'Lifting The Lid On Santa' 29/05/05
The Yorkshire Post - 'Anti-Santa Artwork Sparks Controversy'