Jim Roos: The Next Advertising Agency Man in St. Louis

A St. Louis, Missouri man just may be engaging in an age-old form of advertising: a giant painted sign on the side of a brick building. And it’s working. Advertising may have come a long way since the days of painting your message on any available building or billboard, but his way is having a noticeable impact. People are taking notice, including the city of St. Louis.

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Jim Roos had started a nonprofit housing development to provide residency for those with low incomes. He became outraged when several of his properties were seized by the city government to make place for developers who could pay more in property taxes. To let the city know how he felt, Roos painted “End Eminent Domain Abuse” with a line through it on the side of his building. This was soon deemed “illegal” by the city because he had no permit for his sign.

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Roos’s simple sign has inadvertently generated more discussion across the country than most campaigns coming from a full service advertising agency in St Louis. City residents as well as a Washington Post opinion piece admonish the city for its decision; newspapers from across the country are reporting on the sign as well.

The St. Louis sign code exempts certain kinds of signs from requiring permits, including art, religious symbols, and government political signs. Roos own political advertising, however, is not included in this exempt category. The city says they regulate these signs for “aesthetic” reasons.

This, of course, raises a question about “aesthetics.” If a St. Louis advertising agency had created this sign, or a similar sign, would it be equally censored, or would it be art? Do we even consider signs on the sides of roads or signs rendered by individuals “advertising”?

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With the popularity of artists like Banksy, whose public art covers any available surface, including the “brick wall” medium, maybe we should take a page from the Jim Roos book of advertising. If the St. Louis Post-Dispatch could report on your next alleyway advertising, why not? Abstrakt Marketing Group could commission a Banksy piece for our next client, or we could stick to our full service advertising guns. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Check out our website to see the tools Abstrakt Marketing Group uses to fit your marketing needs.