California Poppy McDonald's Ad-Is Picking Poppies Really Illegal?
Flower-Bombing: A McDonald's Billboard Made from Poppies
Designer Sean Click came up with a novel way to advertise: plant flowers in the shape of the company's logo. His example: a McDonald's ad made from California poppies.
It's a simple and effective concept, which would be both environmentally sound and inexpensive to implement.
Is Picking California Poppies Really Illegal?
Sean Click says it would be illegal to remove an ad made from poppies:
(Since the California poppy is the state flower, the legislature has protected the plant. It is illegal to pick, destroy, or dig up a California poppy. Any person caught picking, destroying, or digging up a California poppy runs the risk of being fined for breaking the law.)
This is mostly true. There is no law specifically protecting California poppies. However, under California state law, it's a misdemeanor to pick (or destroy) flowers or plants from public land, except for those deemed to be "a public nuisance" (California Penal Code § 384a). This law applies to any plant; the California poppy is not singled out for special legislation.
So, planting rhododendrons or (sorry, Madonna) hydrangeas would be equally effective.
One thing not mentioned in the portfolio piece is remixing. If you saw a McDonald's ad made from California poppies, you could simply throw down more poppy seeds to mess with the image, or obscure it completely.
The daring flowerbomber could plant other brightly-colored flowers, too. Imagine a graffiti mural made from flowers. An ongoing dialectic between advertisers and culture jammers.
What Sean Click could also mention is that the California poppy is actually an invasive species, which gives it extra resonance if it were to be used to create living billboards.