Super Bowl building ads draw ire

Two large banners advertising Super Bowl 50 and Verizon Wireless recently installed on the Four Embarcadero building in San Francisco will shrink substantially following the threat of a lawsuit from the city attorney’s office, officials said Wednesday.

The banners, which cover most of the building on two sides, can be seen towering over the Super Bowl City fan village area now taking shape at Justin Herman Plaza.

In a letter dated Jan. 25, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said his office has received complaints about the signs, which violate a city law passed by voters in 2002 that prohibits any new general advertising signs in San Francisco.

Herrera wrote:

“New general advertising signs, such as the Verizon signs on Four Embarcadero, even if temporary, are illegal in San Francisco. … These signs as installed could not have been permitted by the Planning Department because they violate City law.”

The letter said the signs need to be removed by 5 p.m. on Thursday or the city would file a lawsuit and seek a temporary restraining order and fines.

Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, said the committee met with the city attorney’s office today and will modify the banners so that they are compliant with city law:

“They will be smaller. … We’re going to make sure to comply with both the spirit and the letter of the law.”