Industry on alert as advertisers fight for Millennium venues

Millennium night celebrations face being ’hijacked’ by headline-seeking advertisers staging spectacular and unauthorised stunts.

Millennium night celebrations face being ’hijacked’ by

headline-seeking advertisers staging spectacular and unauthorised

stunts.



Any venue likely to attract big crowds and TV coverage is a potential

targets for guerrilla attacks by companies attempting to project

messages on to famous landmarks.



Several locations, including Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of

Parliament - and the Millennium Dome - have been earmarked.



The stunts will be hard to prevent because the laser equipment needed

can fit easily into a car and can cost as little as pounds 5,000.



But the plans have been condemned by Nigel Mansell, managing director of

Concord, the outdoor contractor, who claimed they were unfair to

legitimate advertisers.



’If a company is supporting the celebrations by linking its product to

them it’s not right that they should be hijacked in this way,’ he

said.



’But there’s little that can be done apart from drawing attention to

what might happen.’



Youth brand advertisers are regarded as the most likely to attempt to

exploit the opportunity to gain extra exposure.



Companies attempting it in the past include First Direct, which

projected the words ’We’re awake too’ on to the Ministry of Sound in the

middle of the night to promote the bank’s 24-hour access.



In May, Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker of the House of Commons, asked

police to halt a stunt by the lads’ magazine, FHM, which projected a

naked picture of Gail Porter on to the House of Commons.



Simon Gallant, legal affairs director at the Institute of Practitioners

in Advertising, said some rogue advertisers might find themselves open

to legal action for trespass but thought it would be unlikely.



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