Boston’s ‘illegal’ Apple billboard taken down leaving many questions and large whales in its wake

“A controversial Apple billboard has come down, leaving many questions and some large whales in its wake,” Christine McConville reports for The Boston Herald.

“This weekend, Planet Storage on Traveler Street removed its iPod Touch sign and revealed to drivers on Interstate 93 the ocean-inspired public art,” McConville reports.

McConville reports, “The mural’s corporate cover-up had the city’s blessing. An aide to Mayor Thomas M. Menino and a Boston Redevelopment Authority official told the city’s Inspectional Services Department to allow the sign. But the state’s Outdoor Advertising Board deemed it illegal because it advertised a product the storage business didn’t sell.”

More info in the full article here.

On October 23, 2009, Stephanie Ebbert reported for The Boston Globe, “The iPod banners began appearing in fall 2007, six months before the mayor presided over the opening of the city’s first Apple flagship store in the Back Bay. The banners are hung on scaffolding, obscuring a 13,750-square-foot wall mural of whales on a Planet Self-Storage building near the Boston Herald in the South End.”

“Almost immediately, the state Outdoor Advertising Board called the advertising ‘illegal’ and ordered it taken down. A legal conflict ensued and iPod ads remained in place even beyond the one-year temporary permit. In June, the companies behind the ad finally reached an agreement with the state attorney general’s office, which required them to pay the state $110,000, the largest known state settlement for an outdoor advertising dispute, and seek a new permit from the city. That same week, the BRA director recommended that the permit be approved,” Ebbert reported.

“The Outdoor Advertising Board has argued since 2007 that the ad’s owners should have sought its approval for the sign. If they had, it would have been rejected because of its size and proximity to other signs, according to Edward J. Farley, the board’s executive director,” Ebbert reported. “The owners, however, said they are exempt because their ad promotes sales on the premises: Inside the Planet Self-Storage facility, a customer can buy iTunes gift cards, along with packing tape and locks.”

Ebbert reported, “The self-storage company is renovating to create a larger retail space for Apple products in an effort to satisfy the Outdoor Advertising Board. If it does not satisfy the board, the ad will have to be taken down in Feburary.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Looks like February came early in Boston. Color us wholly unsurprised that nobody in Massachusetts government seems to know WTF is going on. They probably sent out a couple crews to start The Big Dig this morning, too.


  1. “They probably sent out a couple crews to start The Big Dig this morning, too.”

    Don’t even get me started.

    On a relevant note, it’s pretty stupid that a billboard attached to your building can’t advertise a product that you don’t sell.

  2. @ ChrissyOne

    Great Hitchhikers’ Guide reference!

    Concerning the HK photo – all those signs are for the businesses on the street. So by Massachusetts law, they would be legal.

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