It's lights out for Bayer sign on Mt. Washington
Bayer Corp. will no longer pay to have its name in lights on Mt. Washington.
The Robinson company said Thursday it didn't renew a 21-year-old contract with Lamar Advertising for the iconic sign.
Bayer, the North American subsidiary of Germany's Bayer AG, has asked Lamar to turn off the aging neon-lit sign “as quickly as they can,” spokesman Bob Walker said.
The sign is in need of lighting upgrades and refurbishment, Walker said. “The lighting right now is old neon and fraught with burnout problems.”
Bayer officials believed they no longer need a highly visible way to gain name recognition that the 30-foot-tall sign affords, he said. Its advertising budget could be better spent in other ways that align with its mission, such as its partnership with the Carnegie Science Center, he said.
“We've been Bayer for so long on that sign ... for most purposes we're a well-known entity in Pittsburgh,” he said.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto blasted Lamar for allowing the sign to fall into disrepair.
“I can see why Bayer doesn't want to be identified with the Mt. Washington sign when it looks like garbage,” he said.
Nonprofit group Scenic Pittsburgh said Bayer's decision gives the community an opportunity to weigh in on the future of the sign. The organization wants residents to respond to a survey on its website, scenicpittsburgh.org.
“The sign has been deteriorating for years, becoming an increasing eyesore and marring the scenic beauty of Mt. Washington,” said Mike Dawida, executive director of Scenic Pittsburgh.
Jim Vlasach, real estate manager for billboard company Lamar, said repairs to the sign and lighting upgrades will begin as soon as city officials approve the work.
“It's going to have that same nostalgic look that everyone loves; that will remain the same,” he said.
Efforts are under way to find a new advertiser, but no company has signed on yet, Vlasach said.
Peduto wasn't familiar with the specifics of Lamar's plan, but has called for the sign to be rehabilitated.
While known as the Bayer sign, the neon billboard has featured a number of company names during its more than 90-year history, Vlasach said.
Bayer first leased the sign in 1993, when the company had changed its name from Mobay Chemicals to Miles Inc. Mobay was a joint venture formed between Bayer and Monsanto in 1958. The name Miles appeared on the sign until 1995, when the company's name was changed to Bayer Corp.
Vlasach said Alcoa, Iron City beer and WTAE-TV advertised on the sign over the years.
Walker said the Pittsburgh region shouldn't misread Bayer's decision to stop advertising on the sign as an indication that it isn't committed to the community.
“We are a major employer in Pittsburgh,” he said. “That commitment remains, and our decision on the sign has no real impact on our mission to be part of the Pittsburgh community.”
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or email@example.com.
Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NHTSA probes sudden acceleration complaints in Toyota Corollas
- Cranberry-based Prodigo Solutions: Hospitals can reduce high supply costs
- Consumer spending climbs as job gains boost incomes
- With acquisition, PNC set to enter IPO market
- Another card system hack at Supervalu, Albertsons
- Stocks decline on overseas political troubles
- State cites Patriot Coal in W.Va. mine accident
- Columbia Gas parent to spin off pipeline operations
- Study: Wellness programs don't save money, but employee health improves
- Jobless baby boomers struggle to get back in game
- Treasury’s clampdown on tax inversions takes bite out of share prices