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Joe Camel, Mad Men Star in Fake Ad Campaign on Lower East Side

By Patrick Hedlund | March 22, 2011 6:48pm | Updated on March 23, 2011 7:27am

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

LOWER EAST SIDE — Call it a you've-been-had campaign.

A notorious street artist has been hijacking phone booths on the Lower East Side to post his own fake advertisements, giving pause to passersby confused by the guerrilla installations.

The inexplicable posters, reportedly done by graffiti artist Katsu, feature images of everyone from Apple founder Steve Jobs to musician Morrissey to cartoon cigarette spokesman Joe Camel seemingly shilling for organizations like Nike and the MoMA.

The street artist's spray-painted tag in the posters is the only indication that the black-and-white ads are fake — though some on Twitter took the bait.

"I still cannot wrap my head around this Morrissey ad for Nike," tweeted user kittenwithawhip. "Backstory? Anyone?"

Added user ERZEN: "WTF is that #Morrissey doing a #Nike add ? doesn't he know #adidas rules."

The prank is only the latest of Katsu's phone-booth invasions, after he placed poster-size fliers in booths late last year to promote a gallery show, according to Animal NY.

The artist apparently has a key to the booths' ad windows, Bowery Boogie reported, making it easy to slip a poster over the existing advertisement.

Katsu is known for using a paint-spewing fire extinguisher for his large-scale graffiti, and has been outed as the "Splasher" for covering other works of street art in paint.