SAN FRANCISCO — What was billed as a pleasing alternative to exhaust fumes at San Francisco bus stops ended after officials Tuesday ordered the removal of advertisements that gave off the scent of baked cookies.
The fragrant billboards, posted at five bus shelters Monday in an effort by dairy producers to make passengers thirsty for milk, had to come down because the shelters’ maintenance contractor had not informed San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials, said an agency spokeswoman.
“What they did not do is consult with anybody at our agency prior to doing that,” spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said. “We found out from a reporter. Apparently everybody knew besides us.”
The agency also received several complaints from bus riders concerned that the aroma might not be safe, she said.
The project was cooked up by the California Milk Processor Board, whose “Got Milk?” campaign has adorned famous figures around the world with milk mustaches for 13 years.
The milk board said in a statement Tuesday that the scent’s ingredients were flavor-based oils found in many foods. The campaign used scent-infused adhesives affixed under bus benches and inside the shelters.
“It is unfortunate that the MTA has requested the removal of our scented bus shelter ads,” the milk board said. “The Got Milk? scented bus shelters were intended to be a tasteful change from the frequent blasts of exhaust that permeate the air around some of San Francisco’s bus shelters.”
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