Could outdoor LED walls have saved Wall Street?

Just this past Friday, both Congress and our President all signed off on a $700B rescue package. Personally, I am in favor of this legislation as it effectively aims to help both the wealthy and the poor, but I often question how we might have prevented this crisis sooner. Yes, better regulation of the mortgage industry would have made a difference, but would that have really kept a Lehman Brothers afloat? As trade professionals within the A+D industry, is there anything we could have done or said?

Here’s an idea I’d have proposed to Lehman Brothers myself and would like to now throw out there for Barclays Capital and others. It’s no secret that these failed/failing banks have all spent enormous fortunes on palatial headquarters at prime locations. As my friend James Siminoff points out: “when the focus moves away from the business and more towards the show you have to worry.”

Image courtesy of The New York Times.

My question is why hadn’t any of these banks considered how they might have leveraged their real-estate holdings to increase revenues? Take Lehman Brothers for example with its landmark headquarters building located at Times Square in New York City, perhaps the most valuable advertising outlet in the world. Lehman Brothers already invested the capital into purchasing and installing wall signage onto its facade, so why hadn’t they considered using that investment towards something other than plainly advertising themselves. While this probably would not have saved the company, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.

Could outdoor LED walls have saved Wall Street?

Image taken by me (Jacob Slevin) while walking home after work.

I couldn’t help but laugh after seeing that Barclays Capital is going to follow suit in the same direction. Here’s a picture I shot myself on September 23, 2008, just a few days after Barclays Capital purchased Lehman’s investment business. Yes, we get get it… Barclays wants to brag of its purchase, but my gut tells me this also is too much focus on the show and not enough focus on business.

My suggestion is the following: if you’re a bank with real estate holdings at a prime location, quickly install an LED wall and start selling advertising right away. This won’t entirely compensate for our weakening economy, but it will in fact make you some money. I’ll even help with the research. Have a look at the Outdoor LED Walls by Electro Media.

Here’s some basic information. The power consumption is very low, while product life is very long (over 15 years), and maintenance is mostly negligible. You can choose between two brightness settings so that these LED walls will work during both day or night. Several pitches are available from 60 to 150mm so there’s an appropriate product for just about any installation. And these LED walls are operated by a simple central PC. Accordingly, the building walls will simply perform like any normal video screen, only much bigger. Note, please ignore the cute animated gif on Electro Media’s website pointing to a Citigroup installation where they of course sell only themselves; obviously Citigroup is having a rough year also.

Could outdoor LED walls have saved Wall Street?

Aside from producing a great product, I like Electro Media even more because they’ve additionally pushed the business opportunity that comes with an LED wall right on their website. And in today’s economy, that’s a very smart (and meaningful) sales pitch. Isn’t it nice to know that architects and designers can help this economy too!

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