Want some "ridiculous" ads on CTA? Support this Kickstarter project

Ben Larrison, writer and comedy person living in Chicago. He has performed at the Annoyance Theater, Playground Theater, iO, Second City TC, ComedySportz, and also other places.

Ben Larrison, Chicago “comedy person.”

Are you tired of CTA ads for Montana and Wisconsin? Or the ones soliciting research subjects for yet another mental illness project?

You can fund a Kickstarter project so Ben Larrison can “buy ad space … so that I can put ridiculous stuff up in 100 CTA cars.”

And what kind of silly stuff might this comedy writer have in mind? Well, this:

With our ads, we will be able to inject a little silliness, fun and absurdity into the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans. And backers will get to vote on the potential ad copy, so you will have a voice in choosing what goes up in the L cars.

Some potential campaigns include:

  • Facts About Squirrels – Ads alerting the public to “facts” about squirrels. (Example 1: “FACT: You can’t prove that squirrels aren’t all plotting to sneak into our bedrooms and tickle us in our sleep. #SquirrelTruth.” Example 2: “FACT: Statistically speaking, at least one ‘person’ on this train is actually 7 squirrels dressed up in human clothing. Can you spot him/her? #SquirrelTruth.”)
  • …Vanessa? – Ads from someone pleading to “Vanessa” to take him back. (Example 1: “Vanessa, I’m not allergic to dogs anymore! Please come back.” Example 2: “Vanessa, please take me back. I wear button down shirts now. It’s a good look for me, I think.”)
  • Random Pictures of Goats – Ads featuring just pictures of goats, because goats are awesome/hilarious.

Whatever campaign we decide upon, the resulting ads will be silly, fun, and ridiculous. Let me know which one you like best!

And if you do throw some dollars at this wacky idea, you could get some wonderful premiums, such as:

Donate $15, and “I will write “[Your name] is awesome” on a piece of paper, and slip it into a RedEye newsstand box, so that a lucky morning commuter can learn of your greatness. Also includes listing on our website!”

Or, donate $150 or more, and “I will bake you fresh cookies, and deliver them to you in a Ronald McDonald costume while singing a ’90s pop song of your choosing. Also includes listing on our website! (Reward delivery available in Chicago only. Note: McDonald’s does not in any way endorse this project or reward.)”

Might be worth the investment just for the awesome premiums.

Oh, and Larrison says there is a risk the CTA may veto the “ridiculous” ads, but he thinks he’s in the clear:

“The CTA has ultimate veto power over all ads that appear in its trains, so it could keep us from pursuing some of the ad copy we would ideally like to include. But I have discussed the matter with the CTA’s advertising agency and read through the official CTA advertising policies, and I believe we should have no trouble with this project.”

So, good luck with that Ben!


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  • Because of First Amendment concerns (CTA being a public agency), it has to accept anything that comes within the advertising guidelines.

    But since the premiums are worth every cent, I'm donating nothing.

  • The only good squirrel is a dead squirrel!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Let them play with their nuts, but you certainly can't say that about a skunk.

  • In reply to jack:

    The skunk in the forest being Forrest?

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I was thinking more the aromatic piece of fur in the middle of the road, in the Loudon Wainwright song sense, but you have your point.

    Unfortunately, an ad of the type implementing your suggestion probably would be barred by the guidelines.

  • I think silly ads would be great fun.

    Not that I'm tired of Wisconsin ads. As a matter of fact they recently had a whole bus shelter customized in a Wisconsin motif at State and Lake, even down to a seat shaped like a log.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Whoops, make that Grand and State.

  • Sorry, Ben--I'll keep my money in my pocket. PASS.

  • You can donate money to this project and have the satisfaction of placing a funny picture of a goat on a CTA train.

    Or you can donate to Heifer International and place a real goat in an impoverished village. On small farms, goats are often the key to a family's survival. Give a goat to a family in need. Along with training and education in its care, each goat gift donation:

    Provides milk, cheese and butter for nourishment
    Boosts income through sales of extra milk and wool
    Encourages better crop yields by creating fertilizer and clearing land

    Funny pictures of goats on trains or real goats fighting poverty. Your money, your choice. Google "Heifer International."

  • In reply to Hal4:

    All right, how about if the funny goat ads on the CTA include a line with a suggestion to donate money to give a goat and a URL (or one of those square thingies) to the web site of Heifer International? You can have both funny and publicity for a good cause, doesn't have to be either/or.

  • But the purpose of this project is getting other people to pay for shameless self-promotion.

    If there is a request to donate to charity, people will just look at the signs, and go "Huh. Another charity asking for money. Yawn." And that will be the end of it.

    If these signs have a "mysterious source" you will probably see stories on the local news like "What are those pictures of goats on the Red Line? Who is behind it? Details coming up."

    The guy is an obscure comedy writer hoping to jump-start his career with some free (paid for by others) publicity. He's gotten a little bit of publicity with the kickstarter campaign and if this project works, he'll hit the jackpot after the signs are up. His visibility will go up and his career will be helped.

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