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Advertisement Made of Flowers Makes its Debut

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As noted earlier today, one of the seven murals made of flowers advertising the 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle was unveiled today along the 101 Freeway near downtown. This truly isn't an advertisement, at least not in the legal sense for Federal regulators who are not allowing the floralscapes to be commercial in nature. Instead, the new marketing concept (their words) uses "abstract images of the new Prius" that captures the essence of its marketing campaign--“Harmony Between Man, Nature and Machine"--developed by Saatchi & Saatchi.

In total, there will be seven in Los Angeles with all images approved by Caltrans. Part of the deal was to help the state make permanent upgrades to the surrounding area to landscape and irrigation. Earlier this year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to allow digital advertisements on the freeway information signs. It was an unpopular proposal to many, but today's floralscape seems to split the baby to a small degree.

For Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, these organic viral-type ad murals "embody the City's progressive approach to solving environmental issues by merging beautification, sustainable design and reducing our carbon footprint." It also included local job creation from the florists to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, which puts at-risk youth to work.

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The mural is a bit disappointing to look at. Don't take that wrong, the idea of merging visual art and native plants along a freeway deserves a big thumbs up. But for using such a beautiful gift from nature, this lacks and leaves too much to be desired. Toyota would be better served by blowing us away with some fantastic art. If that were to happen, it would spread a lot more virally than what was presented today, which looks like clip art. Luckily, these floralscapes will be changed a few times over the next few months and perhaps, we'll get something better.

Other Los Angeles-area Floralscapes locations include

  • north side of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, east of Lincoln Blvd. exit;
  • east side of San Diego (405) Freeway at Orange Street;
  • north side of the Ventura (101) Freeway, west of Balboa Blvd.;
  • south side of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway, east of Overland Drive exit;
  • north side of the Pomona (60) Freeway at Lorena Street exit;
  • south side of the Foothill (210) Freeway, at the Los Robles Ave. on ramp.
  • The San Francisco-area Floralscapes will be located on the south side of the Redwood (101) Freeway at Novato Blvd. in Marin County, and the other will be on the north side of the Junipero Serra (280) Freeway at the Winchester Ave. exit in Santa Clara County.