Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Monday, March 8, 2010

‘Clean City’: São Paulo Scrubbed of Outdoor Ads

(images via: tony demarco)

Outdoor advertising is so ubiquitous in almost every urban setting around the world, it’s difficult to walk down a street, take an escalator or sit on a bench without getting slapped in the face with one product or another. But the city of São Paulo, Brazil is like an advertising ghost town: all of its billboards stand oddly blank and empty.

In September of 2007, the world’s fourth-largest metropolis was scrubbed of almost every type of outdoor advertising – even pamphlets. It’s all part of mayor Gilberto Kassab’s quest to eliminate visual clutter, making the city itself the focal point rather than colorful, increasingly desperate marketing campaigns.

(images via: eduardoZ)

“The Clean City Law came from a necessity to combat pollution . . . pollution of water, sound, air, and the visual. We decided that we should start combating pollution with the most conspicuous sector – visual pollution,” said Kassab.

The results are astounding: gone are the 50-foot lingerie ads and oversized neon signs a la Times Square. In their place are strange vacancies, gaping holes… space. Suddenly, the architecture and natural scenery come into sharp focus.

(image via: katedubya)

While advertisers weren’t too happy about the law – $8 million in fines were levied against those who dawdled in taking ads down, and Clear Channel launched an unsuccessful campaign to raise support for putting them back up – the citizens clearly approve. Surveys found that at least 70% are happy with the change.