Will the Hollywood Sign Become Ad Space?

Just when you thought it couldn't get more po-mo.

One of the most famous pieces of typography on the planet earth is the Hollywood sign. The giant block letters in the hills above Hollywood are iconic, but apparently, that doesn't make them indispensible.

Turns out the owners of some of the land around the sign, Fox River Financial Resources, have been trying to sell the land for two years. Luckily, the whopping $22 million price tag has kept the property on the market, and out of the speculative gazes of developers.

Now, Trust for Public Lands, a conservation group in California, has struck a deal with Fox River to buy the land for $12 million, turning it into a nature preserve safe from condo builders. Apparently this whole recession? Bad for developers, good for non-profits (at least when it comes to buying at sympathetic rates).

Still, $12 million is no small potatoes. In an effort to raise money for the purchase, Trust for Public Lands will apparently be covering the Hollywood sign up tomorrow with a giant banner that reads, “Save the Peak.” Cahuenga Peak is the name of the hill adjoining the sign, which the TPL is endeavoring to protect.

Predictably, locals are enraged, some by the idea of developing around the sign, some by the idea of not developing around the sign, and all by the idea that the sign will be covered by a giant piece of print collateral for the day.

The banner will set an interesting precedent. In the future, will investors be invited to rent time on the sign? The 450-foot stretch of unobstructed space in the Hollywood hills makes for a nice bit of print ad space – is it the place for a rotating door of banner and billboard advertising? Why not sell every letter individually at a higher premium?

It will certainly prove ironic if the campaign to save Cahuenga Peak turns the Hollywood sign into the latest hot bit of ad space. And Los Angelinos thought it was a tacky eyesore before…


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