Chicago comedian Ben Larrison bought ad space in 100 CTA train cars, so that he could legally put ridiculous stuff up in 100 CTA train cars, and make our commutes more fun. The goal was for the ads to inject a little silliness, fun and absurdity into the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans.
- #SquirrelTruth - Ads alerting the public to important “facts” about squirrels. (Example: “FACT: Statistically speaking, at least one 'person' on any train is actually 7 squirrels wearing a human suit. Don’t be a victim. #SquirrelTruth.”)
- …Vanessa? - Ads from someone pleading to “Vanessa” to take him back. (Example: “Vanessa, please take me back. I wear button down shirts now. It’s a good look for me, I think.”)
Our lives are perpetually overrun with advertisements. Marketing has permeated nearly every aspect of our culture—seriously, try to come up with a part of your daily routine that doesn’t involve branding—and so it’s no surprise the CTA relies heavily on ad revenues to provide Chicagoans with affordable transit. We can’t stop this advertising onslaught, but we can take back just a tiny little bit of what we see—and make it super ridiculous and dumb.
Thanks to our amazing supporters, the ads appeared on CTA Red Line trains in winter 2015! Together, we made the world a little sillier, and our train rides a little more fun.
(Whose idea was this, exactly?)
Ben Larrison is a comedy person and writer living in Chicago. He has made things like the #SquirrelTruth CTA ad campaign (a.k.a. the Chicago Transit Project), the Dunk Contest of the Century of the World, the @ChicagoVentra Twitter feed, ListOfMyWebsites.com, and also some other stuff. He does comedy at the Annoyance Theatre, iO Chicago, Playground Theater, and is an alum of the Second City Training Center House Ensemble. If you want to, you can follow him on Twitter or check out his website.