Defacing the commons

Advertising giant David Ogilvy made the most persuasive case against billboards. His simple thesis was that advertising should represent a bargain between the audience and the advertiser: “I’ll subsidize this news/information/entertainment/event for you if you’ll agree to accept some advertising from me.”
Billboards violate this bargain. There is no bargain. The audience is forced to view the ad and receive nothing in return.
The NY Times says that Nike and ABC have been defacing public sidewalks with advertising. IBM did this awhile back in the US and Australia. The worst excess of the dot-com years in San Francisco was a boat that towed a billboard on San Francisco bay–defacing on the most beautiful views on earth with their commercial message.
UPDATE 10/26:Microsoft is defacing public streets. You’d think having control of most people’s desktops would be enough.
It’s time to re-read Ogilvy. His belief in intelligent communication with the audience and establishing a bargain with them is sorely missed in the current marketing climate.