Bernal Artist “Redesigns” Starbucks Ads in Powell BART Station




Neighbor “Ominous” is an artist who lives in Bernal Heights. Moments ago, Bernalwood received this email from him/her/it:

On any given evening, Powell Street BART Station will be lined end-to-end with homeless. The station is also completely wrapped in 360 degrees of advertisements. Brands attempting to capture the tech cash that is flying left and right.

The workers that stream through this same hall (of which I am one) innovate to solve problems for the wealthy. We pride ourselves on our white-hot innovation economy. But we are not solving the right problems. $15 Salad Delivery. Apps where someone else will park your car for you, pick up and do your laundry for you.

This hall embodies the denial of San Francisco. It’s always striking and unnerving to see the down and out sleeping inside the marketing campaign of the day.

Lately, Powell Street Station has been home to a the Starbucks ‘Skip the Queue” campaign — an app that lets you order ahead so you can skip the queue. A ‘problem’ deemed worth solving.

This morning, that campaign got a surprise make-over.


PHOTOS: via Ominous

18 thoughts on “Bernal Artist “Redesigns” Starbucks Ads in Powell BART Station

  1. My spouse and I were talking about this Starbucks-homeless juxtaposition when at that BART station.
    But Starbucks is a pre-tech institution. It’s the “third wave” coffee places that have the tech money behind them.

  2. This is awesome. As someone who walks through that tunnel every day, though, I have to say I prefer the Starbucks wrap ads to the ones for luxury goods that usually take that ad space– I believe the last campaign featured photos of blingy gewgaws like jewelry and purses on sale at Saks, all displayed above the rows of sleeping bodies that are there when I exit the station around 7am. Starbucks coffee is still a luxury good, but it feels a little less jarring! Anyway, I like this “updated” version.

  3. THIS VIOLATES the #1 rule of pranking: “You do NOT take credit for the prank”. Pranks must be anonymous, otherwise they’re no better than standing on a street corner yelling “ME ME ME ME!!!” That’s not meaningful art; it’s self-promotion.

    • I am with David on this one. When protesting, I think the effect is most felt if you attach your real life identity. If you wish to not do so, then the next best thing, I think, is to let the silent protest be discovered (especially when you are doing it in a crowded area).

    • A “prank” is a bucket of water over a door frame, this is gorilla art, and perpetrators of this sort of thing almost always leak their work to the public. Few people would see it otherwise.

      • I’m sure you mean “guerrilla art”, as no gorillas are capable of doing the kind of art adjustment we’re talking about here. As to what constitutes a prank, I stand on what I posted. This is a prank and you don’t take credit for pranks when you do them.

        In retrospect, sure. It’s probably well known that JL ran the Billboard Liberation Front, etc. He didn’t take any credit for it, even as “Jack Napier” until well after he had adjusted the billboards. Likewise, I’m proud of the BART sign adjustments I made (such as the “No Break Dancing” and “Nuclear Family Free Zone” signs I put up, but not at the time. You never talk about it at the time you do it.

      • Whoops, typo city, hahaha—that’s a beauty too. It’s kinda my thing. So is restraint, so I’ll take that as a fun dig and not an ad hominem argument, because oh God David, your record here… I digress.

        “At the time you do it.” Pretty handy those caveats, eh?

  4. I’m not sure why we need to enforce the prank code here. Maybe there’s a different code of conduct for “creating awareness”?
    I’m glad you brought it to my attention because now I can appreciate it even though I don’t use the Powell Station.

  5. So let me get this correct. The vandalism is going to solve the homeless problem?

    Our city, meaning US the citizens of SF simply have become “used to” homelessness and just put up with it.

    Instead of demanding our taxes and leaders get tough on the homeless/vagrant/druggies and solve the problem.

    • Surprised it took so long for the cranky mean person who hates poor people to show up in the thread. But here you are! And from over in Noe too!

      • excuse me Mr Jack boy, but I didn’t use the word “poor at all, but you did. And you really have no idea what you’re talking about except to complain about others WANTING to make our city a better place.

        People like you simply call homelessness and “lifestyle” and politely step around the shit covered sidewalks, yet doing nothing to help those less fortunate. Shame on you.

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