Chicago Transit Authority Amends Advertising Guidelines

March 14, 2012
Ban on Advertisement of Alcoholic Beverages Lifted
The Chicago Transit board today approved an ordinance to update its advertising guidelines, including lifting the ban on advertising alcoholic beverages on rail cars and at certain rail stations. While the CTA will allow the advertisement of alcoholic beverages, the ordinance restricts the ads to specific areas and sets other conditions.
Advertisement of alcoholic beverages will be limited primarily to the Central Business District, matching the geographic area of JC Decaux bus shelters, owned and managed by the city of Chicago and where alcohol ads are currently permitted. Alcoholic beverage ads and will not exceed 9.99% of the total advertising space on the transit system at any one time. No alcohol advertising will be permitted on buses.
“The inclusion of such advertisements will expand the number of potential companies interested in reaching CTA customers,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “However, lifting this ban was a process conducted with thoughtful consideration. A disclaimer and a clearly defined boundary are important provisions of the policy, in order to ensure people are aware of the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol and there is not a saturation of ads at locations with a high number of riders who are not of legal drinking age." 
Alcoholic beverage ads will not be permitted in rail stations where reduced fare student riders exceed 7.5% of the total ridership. The boundaries where alcohol ads will be permitted are confined to Montrose on the north, Roosevelt on the south, Ashland on the west and Lake Michigan on the east, plus the Sox/35th Red Line station and the 35th/Bronzeville/IIT station on the Green Line. No more than 15 exterior rail car pairs will have alcohol advertisements posted on the system at any one time.
Three percent of the advertisement area must display a statement indicating the legal drinking age in Illinois and the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, in connection with the operation of heavy machinery, or while driving.
As a result of this ordinance change, Titan Worldwide, CTA’s advertising broker, is guaranteeing a higher minimum annual guarantee. The total amount in new advertising revenue for the remainder of the three-year contract is $3,287,500 bringing the total minimum annual guarantee for all advertisements to $57,537,500.  
In addition, political ads and public service announcements by nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies will require the disclosure of the entity which is sponsoring or paying for the advertisement. This guideline protects the CTA from appearing to endorse any political candidate or particular point of view.
The ordinance also adopts stricter language for the prohibition of advertising that is libelous, infringes on copyrights, is detrimental to the commercial or administrative interests or disparages the CTA or public transportation and the City of Chicago, or other government entities.
New language was also added to make clear CTA’s policy, which is consistent with Illinois law prohibiting ads promoting infidelity, escort services and sexually-oriented products or businesses.
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