You don’t have to be the Mystery Pooper to shit on Ypsilanti… You can be a corporation


When Adams Outdoor Advertising was lobbying the City for permission to place a digital billboard on the edge of town, facing 94, they said it would be a good thing for us. Not only would they be paying rent, they said, but we could use the massive billboard to positively promote the city to the tens of thousands of motorists who passed on the highway each day. They didn’t, of course, mention that, a few years later, they’d be using it to make jokes at our expense.

And that’s apparently what happened yesterday, when Adams general manager Todd McWilliams gave the go-ahead to their art guy to put up images up with the following tag-lines inspired by the so-called Ypsi Pooper: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper,” “Help us flush the pooper,” and “Help us catch the poopetrator.”

“Our art guy had a lot of fun,” said McWilliams, who also shared with the Daily Dot that he had to turn down a few of the more objectionable ones that were suggested.

I suppose we should just be thankful that they didn’t put up a “Home of the Pooper” billboard.

Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 9.14.00 PMIt’s been a huge hit for Adams, getting coverage on sites like Deadspin and Gawker, and I’m sure that McWilliams and his team are feeling pretty good about themselves right now. Unfortunately, though, we’ve still got a local deviant who’s shitting on, and possibly fucking, a play structure outside a local elementary school. And, as hilarious as some people might find the thought of children playing in the feces and ejaculate of the mentally ill, a lot of us appreciate it for the health and safety risk that it is.

For what it’s worth, when asked about the sign today, City Manager Ralph Lange told MLive, “We’re not authorizing it and we don’t need it.” Of course Lange would have told McWilliams that, had he called and asked how they could help. This was never about helping, though. This was about demonstrating the effectiveness of outdoor advertising, not about protecting our kids, or apprehending this person.

The text in the black box above, by the way, is from the Adams Outdoor Advertising company handbook. I’m not suggesting that anyone from the company lose his job over this, but clearly this was a stupid call on their part, and I think they owe the city an apology. It’s one thing for the assholes at the New York Daily News to trivialize this. It’s another altogether, though, to have a media company in partnership with the City broadcasting it from public property.

Also, for what it’s worth, our Police Department today announced that they have a person of interest in the case. Here’s their update.

The Ypsilanti Police Department continues to investigate the health & safety issue of the defecator in Prospect Park. We are investigating a person of interest possibly involved in these incidents. We will be not be providing any further information, as the case is still open and active. Any information relative to the case can be directly forwarded to us here at the police department. Thank you for your cooperation. -Lt. Deric Gress,Ypsilanti Police Dept

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  1. Brandon
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    well… to be fair I think this whole thing would have gone viral no matter what city it was in. Whatever public official used the term “mystery pooper” w/ a journalist sealed that.

    But I get where you are coming from, especially given they promoted their billboards as a civic boon.

  2. Brandon
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    The Daily News report claiming the City is behind the billboards.

  3. Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Maybe I’m making too much of this. Maybe it’s because my son was within seconds of sliding through this man’s shit. I just really don’t don’t see the humor in it. I think we’re dealing with a really sick individual. And I suspect, when this is all over, we’ll come to appreciate just how fucked up this is. As we’ve discussed before, there’s a good chance this man isn’t just shitting on the slide, bur ejaculating on the play structure as well. Maybe if these folks from Adams lived in the neighborhood they’d see it differently.

  4. Dan
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    No. This is obviously a bullshit pub grab. Do they really think someone knows who the shitter is, and is keeping quiet?

  5. Jules
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Yeah. You’re right, Mark. These fuckers. Nice way to shit on the community, Adams. Thanks for making Ypsi the butt of your smug jokes. And for this, Ypsi gets 35k a year?

  6. Eel
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all of it turned out to the execs at Adams Outdoor Advertising shitting on the slide.

  7. anonymous
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    worried that mark doesn’t mind when he himself sensationalizes an event in order to maximize visits to his blog, but cries foul when someone else does same

  8. Dan
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Non-local ad agencies think The Shitter is a port-a-potty

  9. Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Anonymous, I do believe the bar is different. When someone inside a community says something, I think it’s lower than when someone outside a community says something. I think this is especially true when the outside entity, in this case Adams, is a corporation who sold us on the idea of an electronic billboard as a way to communicate all of the great things happening in this community. With that said, I’m curious to see what kinds of examples you can provide of my sensationalizing bad things that happened here. I know I’ve written about bad things, like the police shooting of David Ware, but I don’t think I ever sensationalized things in hopes of driving readership. I don’t really care how many people read my site. And, if I wrote about something, it’s because I wanted to discuss it. Not because I wanted to create controversy. So please provide examples. As I’ve been blogging every day for almost a dozen years, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding many.

  10. steve hawley
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Boston had bombers, we have a pooper.
    No guns, no injuries, we have a mentally ill person in our community and I’ll bet we have one or two more.
    We will find out more about him the story will continue.

    I saw a channel 7 reporter interviewing a neighbor walking his dogs yesterday and wondered what was up, forgetting I live a short block from Prospect park.

    I hope they took the time to check out these wonderful neighborhoods surrounding the park and the beauty of the park itself. Good luck on that, right?

  11. Eel
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    What we think doesn’t matter one bit to them. One mention on Gawker is worth losing the Ypsi account over, no that they’re in any danger of losing the account. We’re too poor to say no. We just have to laugh along with them and take it.

  12. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Maybe they could put on the billboard “Stop Cocaine Use At Ann Arbor’s Downtown Library” since they are apt at using overinflated headlines.

  13. Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was heroin.

  14. anonymous
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    “Put down the needle, and pick up a book, Ann Arbor”

    How do we get that on the billboard?

  15. Mark Lee
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I remember back in the day when we used to laugh about poo! In Oct. 2012 you had the funny billboards about the non local banker eating human feces? Now everything’s so serious. I hope the artistic stylings of Patrick Elkins will bring a smile to the faces of all the residents of south east Michigan this Easter and remind us that it will all be OK.

  16. Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Poop and semen can be funny. Something about Mary had great semen humor. I think it becomes becomes decidedly less funny, however, when it’s left for kids to play in. It’s a subtle distinction, I know.

  17. Mark Lee
    Posted April 19, 2014 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Not so subtle. Has there been any more pooping since the extensive media coverage of the issue started?

  18. Eel
    Posted April 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to think of a funny billboard Adams could run about the heroin epidemic in Ann Arbor but so far I don’t have anything. The closest I’ve come is, “Don’t nod off at the library.”

  19. Eel
    Posted April 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    It took a few days, but it’s international now. The CBC has it.

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