Noah Tilsen is a beard with a dream. The St. Paul man wants to see his woolly likeness, draped in kitties and rocking a thong, plastered on a billboard. And he wants you to pay for it.
However, the bizarro billboard is just the tip of the chest hair. Tilsen hopes to springboard the irrevocable image into a continuous crowd-sourced art project called Adsurper. The idea is to supplant or “usurp” traditional advertising spaces with whimsically subversive art or general ridiculousness. A radio spot for a fake drug with abhorrent side effects? Sure. Leaflets for a satirical political campaign? Why not?
“I guess I’m a little cynical about things and a dose of humor, especially to people who normally wouldn’t receive it, would be a good thing,” says Tilsen, 32. “Ultimately, I would love for some bizarre ads that would confuse people.”
The former Eden Pizza owner had been joking about the idea with his friends until a fateful Uber trip set it in motion last year. One day Tilsen, who drives for the car service, picked up a sales rep from Clear Channel Outdoor. During the ride Tilsen peppered her with questions and gave her his front seat pitch. She seemed into it, Tilsen says, so soon after he disrobed for a cat-littered photoshoot.
Talks continued between Tilsen and the Clear Channel rep. But the more he divulged about his oddball scheme and the more Clear Channel stooges she looped in on the convo, the leerier the company got.
“The whole concept of Adsurper scared them, so they didn’t want to do it,” Tilsen recalls. “That was a depressing moment, because it’s probably the biggest channel for that kind of thing. But there’s a lot of other billboard companies out there and ultimately money talks with these people.”
Undeterred, Tilsen has reached out to other ad guys and hopes to raise some hijinks capital through a newly launched Kickstarter page. Tilsen’s looking for $5,000 to fund the billboard and a website, where each month people could contribute to putting a new installation on a bus shelter, airwaves or direct mailers. As of this writing, Tilsen needs another $4,975.
After his bare-chested billboard Tilsen wants to make someone else’s vision come to life. But don’t think he's short on ideas.
“I do have a 7-foot vagina laying around somewhere that I made with a friend,” Tilsen says.
With your help, maybe he can take this ceiling-scraping vag all the way to the Super Bowl.