Monday, March 28, 2011

Illuminating Broad Street

Arguments against digital signage may have lost a little traction as the Kimmel Center unveiled it's animated video cube at the corner of Broad and Spruce.

Broad Street's historic core has been illuminated in everything from lanterns to neon to LEDs for the past 200 years, and now plasma.

The new signage shows how illuminated advertising can revitalize an architecturally barren corner.

While the target demographics for the Kimmel Center and The Gallery at Market East may be substantially different, the PIFA cube has transformed a stale, unfriendly design into something dynamic through the process of digital advertising.

Far less architecturally significant, Market East's target retail market is primed for an exponentially larger implementation of this successful medium. While South Broad is home to more than a dozen historic skyscrapers and theaters, Market East's major retail artery is left with four historically significant properties at best.

8th Street to 12th Street is an architectural fallout zone of poorly designed retail space, unattractive signage, and The Gallery, saddled with more than two blocks of sporadically adorned metal and concrete walls.

If the argument against the proposed digital signage at Market East is based on its content, then the conversation hasn't begun. Advertisers would be sought after the space is approved. As SCRUB proved with an Absolut ad near 8th and Market, it only takes a few helicopter parents to harass advertisers away.

No one has proposed illuminating The Gallery, or any other building in the vicinity, with advertisements for Delilah's.
The potential revenue generated by this space and the business it will attract are staggering. Campaigning against digital signage on Market East purely based on its speculative content is irresponsible to the community.

However if the argument is based on the wattage, medium, or the technique in which the content is applied, a format justified even minimally on South Broad Street cannot rationally be banned from what should be Center City's core of consumerism.

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