Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, September 16, 2021

What would the skyline of a modern metropolis look like without all the practically-ubiquitous billboard advertising?

São Paulo, Brazil is finding out. The world’s fourth-largest city is combating “visual pollution” by having all oversized outdoor ad installations removed:

Under the new law, all oversized ads must come down. Signage standards are shrinking, too. Stores with a shop front exceeding 100 meters (328 feet) in length are allowed two signs, but each smaller than 10 square meters (33 square feet). Smaller stores can have one sign no bigger than 4 meters (13 feet) square.

Although many of Brazil’s laws are ignored, compliance here has been high and the effect has been dramatic. Nowhere is the change more evident than in the once grand downtown area, a confused commercial district where the narrow streets are choked with cars and the sidewalks are overrun by vendors.

For a peek on the ad-less landscape and reaction, this Flickr collection provides insight.

Should Clear Channel and other outdoor media companies worldwide be nervous? Actually, they already are, lest it catch on in U.S. markets:

Multinational corporations, on the other hand, didn’t take it so well. Clear Channel Outdoor, the notorious American company, purchased a large share of Sao Paolo’s billboard market a few years ago. Weeks before the ban took effect, they launched a counter-campaign, with slogans such as: “Outdoor media is culture.”

I don’t see a broad ban working in New York, San Francisco or any other American metro. For one thing, existing regulations already keep the skyward clutter to a minimum, relatively. Compared to Third World urban centers, the visual advertising in the States is tame. There’s always going to be complaints of commercial blight regardless of degree, but believe me, it ain’t that bad.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/16/2007 12:29:18 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Politics
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