The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Advertising: Even Less Desirable Than A City Full Of Hookers, Drugs And Muggers.
August 8, 2007, 7:05 am
Filed under: Comment

Red Light Zone

I’ve blatantly nicked this off Gareth … but given the last time I copied one of his posts I was told it was miles better than the usual rubbish I write … I am sure no one will be upset.

Bastards. 🙂

Anyway in Sao Paulo, they recently passed a law that mandated no more visual pollution – or as it is known by its other name – outdoor advertising.

Well after all sorts of hissy fits by ad agencies and corporations, the law has finally come ‘alive’ and every poster, sign, billboard, bus shelter etc has been ripped down leaving a city that looks more like a ghost town than a major, vibrant city.

Funny [and sad] how we have allowed ‘volume of advertising’ to subconsciously dictate the scale and importance of towns, cities and countries isn’t it?

Advertising Puddle

I remember years ago working on Red Bull and one of the events they sponsored [a ski race in Italy] was encountering some major problems.

Basically there had been some major fuck up with the signage and they ended up having nothing they could place all around the event.

After giving the situation some thought, we came up with the idea of leaving all the space we’d ‘bought’ blank … then issuing a press release that explained we felt advertising took too much attention away from the enjoyment of the carnival and so we’d bought all the advertising rights so we could leave them blank and let you enjoy the event without distraction.

It was weird seeing a place with no signage … but it still worked in Red Bull’s favour [probably more than it would have otherwise] because the fact there was no advertising was more noticeable [and talked about] than if we’d placed ads in every available corner.

Of course, despite all the success that strategy had achieved, the following year Red Bull resorted to type and put up tons of [wallpaper] advertising wherever the eye could see – however for a week some time around 2001, we did something that was probably more environmentally friendly than anything  Mr Gore is currently achieving.

[That last sentence is a joke so don’t start … ]

Anyway, you can read all about the Sao Paulo decision here … and if you want to see what a ‘clean city’ actually looks like [and lets face it, not many people would ever expect it to be in Sao Paulo], go and check out the many wonderful photos by Tony de Marco by clicking here.


35 Comments

wasnt that the only time you ever made any real money from the austrian fuckers? where most agencies get money for producing nothing of substance, you got money for literally producing nothing; possibly the only time in your fucking working life where you were financially astute.

Comment by andy@cynic

this is where i really come into being the ‘yoko ono of advertising’, but i love this idea. in fact, i will be really, really interested to see what happens to the art on the streets in light of this law and whether art and advertising in the public domain actually influence each other way more than we think.

and the other reason i love this law is because then great planners from sao paolo end up getting work at mother in london! yay!

Comment by lauren

I like your point about advertising being a subliminal indicator to a cities status, you’re right and it’s going to be interesting to see how the city compensates for the lack of environmental noise. Will street art come back (has it ever gone away) or will that too be seen as environmental pollution? Who dictates this? Who has a personal interest in the decision?

Enough of my conspiracy theories because I applaud the move, not because of some environmental stance but because if all communication that infiltrates peoples lives was banned, it would finally force agencies to start thinking in ideas rather than exectutions.

With that in mind, I wonder if Rob is actually el presidente of Sao Paolo?

Comment by Pete

Read about it in CR a little while back. Its a unique decision, and how it will play out will be extremely interesting.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Just because you’re from Brazil doesn’t automatically qualify you for ‘babe status’. When I was at Mother they had some South American boys there and they looked like they had fallen out of the ‘ugly tree’ one branch at a time, hahaha!

Got your email Lauren – will answer tomorrow, going into a 24 hour research fest – but if it flogs Angelina, I will happily take the pain.

Comment by Rob

WCRS’s ad for Sky neatly fits onto this…

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=nWRJoLgFrdw

Fucking amazing work.

Comment by Will

Don’t know if this is the best decision, because it will lead to a horrible increase of people carrying around P&G sandwich ads through the streets of Sao Paolo. But it definitely will force ad agencies to think in new ways what is probably good. Or as Pete put it “the have to develop ideas not executions”. That’s pure CP+B thinking and it’s brilliant. Nonetheless I have to agree with Lauren that street art (or cultural jamming) and advertising are influencing each other in more ways than we think (basically a lot of Banksy’s work or the Anti-Advertising Agency are based on bashing polluting ads). So it will be interesting to see what will take the place of advertising.

And Rob, good luck witht the Angelina thing (though I don’t really like her that much, would prefer Nina Persson…)

Comment by Seb

Erase and Rewind Seb? 😉

Comment by Will

The first person to create a huge ad just outside the border that is visible from miles away…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

She’ll pretend that she loves you…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

No, I need some fine wine and you need to be nicer, Will.

Comment by Seb

😉

Comment by Seb

Absence of distracting material – how very brazilia!

Comment by John Dodds

Not just absence of (clothing) material, Mr Dodds?

Comment by Will

why is everybody suprised? afterall having a brazilian has always meant taking things away.

Comment by andy@cynic

ive just seen the sky ad and i dont think its fucking brilliant. its good but i think they could of done something far more interesting if they did a totally shit execution – like fucking awful – and said “at sky we dont run ads so we dont know what good ones look like. watch sky and you watch content not glossy interuptions”

Comment by andy@cynic

Almost ironic considering many Sky Channels have horrendous ad breaks

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Andy – of course, the worry is that the average viewer wouldn’t get it; would just think SKY had cheapened itself in some way. And getting past the client would be damn near impossible. But, put it another day, if SKY did a fucking stupid ad, I’d find it hilarious. 😀

I don’t think the Youtube does it justice – it definitely needs to be seen on a big TV or at the cinema.

Comment by Will

i know what youre saying will, but i also fucking hate it when creatives say their brilliance has to be seen on a big screen because unless the ad was specially created for the flix, it ain’t gonna fucking happen and you run the risk of total creative luvvydom and remember, this is coming from a guy who aspires to prima donna status.

Comment by andy@cynic

“Sky Movies, unless you have Sky Plus you aint getting a toilet break…”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

guys, let’s say the ad is okay. you have seen stuff worse and you have seen better things. unfortunately, Will, I have to agree with Andy on nearly everything he said (especially the prima donna thing). did I really say that? man, I must be burning down the house (quite forced Nina Persson sidekick here, but she is gorgeous).

Comment by Seb

Andy – true. But youtube doesn’t have the same magic that even a TV has.

I suppose having a certain amount of luvvydom stops creatives from losing their ambition, but yeah, I’m with you – too much is hard to take. It ain’t the next great epic novel or art masterpiece.

Comment by Will

Seb, I’m losing my favourite game here. 😉

I don’t think the ad is THAT average though. True, it didn’t have a Sony Balls ‘Oh MY GOD’ reaction, but it’s better than 95% of ads that I’ve seen this year.

Comment by Will

that’s true. most of them are just “hanging around” during TV shows or are a “carnival” of stupid ideas. enough of Nina Persson sidekicks for today. isn’t she wonderful? by the way…what’t the name of that band she is in? ha.

Comment by Seb

Andy’s right about creative quality shining through how ever you view it, but there’s no way I’m letting his “aspires to prima donna status” slip by! Nothing aspirational about you!

Comment by John Dodds

The Cardigans

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Nina Persson, isn’t she gorgeous?

Comment by Seb

You are so lucky Andy is now in a meeting John 🙂

Comment by Rob

It’s all about timing!

Comment by John Dodds

Or wimpyness, ha!

I’ve just commented on your blog John … you are proving me right again.

Comment by Rob

You guys set me free!

Comment by John Dodds

Don’t blame us for your dual personality issues, ha!

Comment by Rob

Right brain/left brain synthesis is all the rage apparently.

And having now watched the Sky ad, I can say that it’s distinctly underwhelming.

Comment by John Dodds

Et Tu Doddsy?

*Dies*

Comment by Will

I’m with Andy on the SKY ad … and I love his idea of deliberatly doing shit ads to demonstrate how SKY doesn’t let glossy ads interupt the shows you love. But as Mr M say’s SKY actually DOES show ads, it’s all a load of marketing wank innit!

Comment by Rob




Comments are closed.