Edina Realty agent launches ‘Bus Bench Challenge,’ urging people to deface his ads

Marketing stunt may run afoul of advertising rules

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Most business professionals would likely prefer people to refrain from defacing their advertisements. But not Graham Smith. The Minneapolis real estate agent said he’s always thought that any humorous, eye-catching alterations that street artists make to his bus bench ads actually enhance their marketing appeal. “When people tell me, 'Did you see your bus bench on this block was vandalized?' I say, ‘I love it ... people notice it,' ” said Smith, an agent at Edina Realty. He loves it so much, in fact, that he’s launched a marketing campaign encouraging people to “to do your worst” to the ads that he said he pays $75 a month to appear on four bus benches around the city -- a stunt that may or may not land him in hot water with the city's bus bench provider. Smith is inviting people to deface his ads, snap photos of them and tag him in those photos on Facebook as part of his “Bus Bench Challenge,” which won him Inman News’ latest #madREskillz. He’s offeri...