This is certainly not the first time we have seen ads painted beneath our feet on public sidewalks here in Toronto. Bike lanes were also taken over for ads last year. Indeed, there is even a company, Futuro Marketing, that openly makes a profit from selling public spaces for a limited time.
The company that commissioned this ad, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, has the money and resources to purchase loads of conventional advertising – its namesake product, the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL team, is the highest valued in that league – and is the most expensive to go see. With other very lucrative sports and property assets, it begs to wonder why the company would resort to relatively inexpensive, and illegal, forms of advertising to promote its product.
Not to go into much of a Maple Leafs rant – there’s plenty of other places that will offer you one – but the slogan is somewhat interesting. Has MLSE gone with “Spirit is Everything” because that is all the team has? Or a message to its disappointed fans? In any case, I don’t even think that these illegal ads will help team spirit.
As an aside, one may note that the above picture shows the sidewalk in rather poor condition, with asphalt covering holes and trenches for utility work, common in Downtown Toronto. I am hopeful that the Downtown-Yonge BIA work, including the installation of new light standards, will fix the rather pitiful condition of the sidewalks between Dundas and Richmond.