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The Story Behind Those Fake Weather Signs Popping Up Around The City

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(Photo courtesy of Sam Hayes)
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Maybe you've seen the signs on Abbot Kinney or Beverly, or done a double-take downtown or in Los Feliz. There are thirty of them around the city, printed on aluminum to look like government-issue signs and attached to street posts, all warning of impending inclement weather due to the moods of some guy named Adam. WTF?

[WARNING] Adam Is Angry. Take shelter to avoid lightning, one says, while another warns viewers to Prepare for severe rains and sink holes because Adam is Depressed. So, who exactly is Adam and what are these signs doing everywhere?

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(Photo courtesy of Sam Hayes)
Well, if you guessed viral marketing stunt—you'd be correct. Adam, as it turns out, is the protagonist in a new novel by 26-year-old L.A. author Sam Hayes. Hayes, who has a background in advertising, came up with the street signs as a way to build awareness around The Weather Man, his forthcoming book, and the Kickstarter he's using to launch it. Artist Natalie Seitz (Hayes' coworker from his former days at L.A. ad shop 72andSunny) designed the signs, and Hayes ordered them online from some site that specializes in printing faux-government signs, because you can buy literally anything on the internet.

Hayes told LAist that he first began work on the novel seven years ago during the end of his college career, and that he's publishing through the Amazon White Glove Program, an agent-led program for emerging writing which Hayes describes as "self-publishing on steroids." The novel, as you might have guessed, is about a man whose emotions control the weather.

"The signs are just a way to hopefully draw people into that world and build buzz," he said.

Hayes began his guerrilla marketing campaign by putting up a half dozen signs around his hometown of Chicago, where he quickly caught notice in the Chicago Tribune.

With the help of friends, he's been putting the signs up himself in both cities, donning construction-worker garb to avoid getting caught while he's at it (though, for the record, Chicago police told a local news site that Hayes' antics merely fall into a legal "gray area").

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"A cop driving by won't look twice at a guy in a construction outfit putting up signs," Hayes said, adding that passerby "will oftentimes notice I'm just a dude who's putting up his own stuff."

We've yet to read the book, so we can't tell you where The Weather Man will (or won't) fall into the literary canon, but it seems the viral marketing effort has already been a success: with 10 days left to go, Hayes' Kickstarter is already more than fully funded, with an additional $5,595 pledged over his initial goal of $10,280. What a time to be alive!

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The author with his signs on Abbot Kinney (Photo courtesy of Sam Hayes)