• 07.12.12

Error: These Advertised Products Are Actually Horrible

New street art in New York shows the error messages that should pop up on posters for bad food and movies.

The best street art doesn’t just brighten an otherwise drab urban environment (though that’s always appreciated), it also comments on the environment itself. And new pieces popping up from New York street artist Jilly Ballistic are taking brilliant swipes at one of the more annoying aspects of city living: insipid advertising.


Using the universal trope of computer and phone alert windows, the pieces offer a bit of hard truth along with the hard sell of the advertisement. On a Budweiser ad, an iPhone alert window warns: “ERROR: Cannot refresh thirst. Please try another beverage.” An ad for the new movie The Watch warns that it can’t open “due to lack of substance.”

While Jilly Ballistic’s pieces might not actually convince anyone to not see, say, Step Up Revolution, due to critically low expectations (though the trailer seems to indicate that movie is, in fact, awesome), they at least provide a slight respite from the constant assault of marketing messages that bombard the captive audiences on the subway. Perhaps, after banning soda, Bloomberg can mandate warnings on all advertising.

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Ideas section, formerly