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Peace, Love, and Linux

IBM's Peace, Love, and Linux advertising campaign, sidewalk graffiti, observed on April 20, 2001 9:39:38 AM in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Commercial speech masquerading as street art. On an April morning in 2001 on my way to work, I noticed this curious graffiti on the sidewalk, right on the corner where I lived. Was this a clever ad campaign? It was too neat and clean to be graffiti. As I suspected, it turned out to be an ad masterminded by Ogilvy and Mather for IBM's Linux-based e-server push with the theme of peace, love, and Linux, represting the union of IBM the corporate establishment with Linux and it's counter-cultural roots. In several cities including New York and San Francisco city officials complained. Usually corporations pay for their ad space. IBM refused to comment on whether the graffiti was illegal or not, however, they eventually pulled the ads. All the press and protest I'm sure helped make the campaign a success.

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Taken on April 20, 2001