Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A look at Greenroad Media

"Greenroad Media is the only media company that brings together businesses and governments to beautify our highways and public spaces through innovative corporate sponsorships. The result is a truly unique public-private partnership." That's what they have to say about themselves. Their corporate activity is to lease roadside space and plant flowers. That's very nice of them to prettify the roadsides. However the floral displays have corporate messaging in them.

greenroadmedia.jpgThis is done with the approval of state Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies. And clearly it is similar in purpose to existing roadside signs that are infesting the landscape. A difference is that existing roadside signs are on private property, paying money to the landowners fortunate enough to be roadside, while Greenroad Media pays money to the state. What's common is that both act to further encroach corporate messaging into the world around us.

They call it the Living Pixel System ™ and is a way of planting images using flowers of specific coloration. They situate the floral displays on natural slopes along the road, and accompany them with a small roadside sign. The roadside sign is called a "recognition sign" and lists the corporate sponsorship.

It sounds all well and good.. surely planting flowers is a good thing, eh? Well, yes, but...

There's always that 'but' intruding in my mind on what might otherwise be a good idea. I like the idea of planting flowers along the road, to be sure. But. Uh, the objection is the intrusion of corporatism.

Corporatism is in this case propagating itself with advertising. That the advertising is clothed in "green" (flowers) only hides the fact that it's advertising. Am I pleased to hear that more plants are being planted? Yes! Still the purpose is to spread corporatism.

Another objection is that it is placing the states in the position of being fed by the corporation. A larger issue in this is whether the state (governments) should be subservient to corporations or the other way around. My concern in our modern times is that the corporations are more powerful than governments, that corporations are dictating terms to governments, and this puts governments into the position of being unable to represent the will of the people and instead governments are having to kowtow to the will of corporations.

Still, flowers, hmmm...