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16 Mar 10:00 GMT / 06:00 EST

The Drum Digital Transformation Festival launch

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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

San Francisco condemns 'illegal' Twitter stencil ad campaign

San Francisco brands Twitter stencil campaign as ‘illegal’

Twitter’s latest guerilla advertising has wrought condemnation from San Francisco city hall with one official warning the social media company “our sidewalks are not to be used for billboards”.

A guerilla ad campaign littered the city with quirky Twitterisms in stenciled ads. Cnet reports that Rachel Gordon, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Public Works Department, branded the sprayed-on ads as “illegal”.

"Our street cleaning and street inspection teams have been made aware of these illegal advertisements, and if it becomes necessary for us to remove them we will be sending a bill to the offender."

Twitter responded: "We looked into what happened and identified breakdowns in the process for meeting the cities' requirements for our chalk stencils. We're sorry this happened."

100 real tweets were brought into the real world with the execution. Twitter marketing chief and head of people Leslie Berland said the campaign was created to amplify the sentiment of Twitter fans.

“We literally wanted to manifest their tweets into something tangible and real.”

These activations are a follow-up ‘Me on Twitter’, which similarly republished user-made memes as ads throughout the summer. Twitter’s global chief marketing officer and head of people, Leslie Berland, described the initiative as “hilarious and silly and funny and real and authentic”, but also as a marketing success.

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