Thursday, August 30, 2007

Advertising is visual pollution

In a blow to the argument that consumers see more than 3,000 advertisements each day, Sao Paulo, Brazil, issued a ban on all outdoor advertising including billboards, outdoor video screens, blimps, shop-window signs, logos, and posters. As part of a wider initiative to curb garbage and pollution the advertising ban intends to eliminate what Sao Paulo's mayor, Gilberto Kassab, calls "visual pollution".

While many readers would agree that some ads are in bad taste, I have a hard time imagining standing in Times Square and looking around at buildings stripped of their flashing lights, neon and video screens. While the local advertising agencies have launched legal actions, it appears that many applaud the move.

This is the first time that a non-communist city has imposed such a rule… and enforced it with vigor. Apparently the law has been so successful that more than 15,000 billboards now stand empty.

If you want to see more, Tony de Marco has posted a video stream on Flickr. The story was broken on National Public Radio and covered by a number of online publications.

1 comment:

Chris Grayson - Art Director said...

Wow. They really don't want businesses to succeed, do they? It's probably useful for entrenched incumbents, and absolutely crushing for new businesses and upstarts. I'd be interested to learn what the failure rate of new businesses is in another couple years, if the ban holds. Hell, it started in 2007. I'd be interested to know what the failure rate has been for new businesses since the ban went into effect.