Billboard Liberation!

Billboard ban in São Paulo angers advertisers
    [...which gets my vote for most shocking! headline of the year.]

The law is "a rare victory of the public interest over private, of order over disorder, aesthetics over ugliness, of cleanliness over trash," Roberto Pompeu de Toledo, a columnist and author of a history of São Paulo, wrote in the weekly newsmagazine Veja. "For once in life, all that is accustomed to coming out on top in Brazil has lost."

But advertising and business groups regard the legislation as injurious to society and an affront to their professions. They say that free expression will be inhibited, jobs will be lost and consumers will have less information on which to base purchasing decisions. They also argue that streets will be less safe at night with the loss of lighting from outdoor advertising.

"This is a radical law that damages the rules of a market economy and respect for the rule of law," said Marcel Solimeo, chief economist of the Commercial Association of São Paulo, which has 32,000 members. "We live in a consumer society and the essence of capitalism is the availability of information about products."

"What we are aiming for is a complete change of culture," said Roberto Tripoli, president of the City Council and one of the main sponsors of the legislation. "Yes, some people are going to have to pay a price. But things were out of hand and the population has made it clear it wants this."


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26 Responses:

  1. baconmonkey says:

    There is this new horrifying digi9tal billboard in Oakland, just as you get off the bridge. the thing is painfully bright. Worse than multiple sets of headlights on high-beam in your eyes.
    oh how I wish it was not there.

    • jwz says:

      If only you had some friends who lived in Oakland and were irresponsible with their use of firearms...

      • baconmonkey says:

        Sadly this monstrosity is out in a roadless wasteland, in the area near the sewage treatment pland, and the oakland army base.

        • madfire says:

          If only you had some army friends who lived in Oakland and were irresponsible with their use of rocket launchers...

    • There's one in Detroit for one of the Casinos like that, full of flashing amber lights. If it was foggy/misty in the morning when I passed it, it would look like flashing police lights behind me. Scared the hell out of me nearly every morning for months, lol.

      I never did understand how that could be legal when having a flashing license plate border or flashing neons inside would be illegal for being distracting to other drivers and/or making my vehicle appear to be an emergency vehicle.

    • solarbird says:

      There's one of those on I-5. The billboard is on tribal land, so state laws on such things don't apply. CHRIST it's distracting and horrible.

  2. argue that streets will be less safe at night with the loss of lighting from outdoor advertising.

    Now THAT'S stretching.....

  3. fantasygoat says:

    How will consumers know about products?!

    I wish the liberators would come here.

  4. chromebishop says:

    When I run for public office it will be on the "get rid of the fucking billboards" platform.

    i despise.

    though, flyering on telephone polls is ok.

    its the size and the unavoidablilty of the giant ass billboards that really gets me fired up. at least we dont (yet) have those ones they have in LA that wrap around an entire 12 story building.

    • skreidle says:

      If you make it into office, ideally without the use of roadside campaign signs, can you ban roadside campaign signs?

    • pozorvlak says:

      Yeah, flyering on telephone poles is another kettle of fish entirely. No bright lights, and the barrier to entry is much lower, so you get actual new information from them: billboards are more often reminders of the existence of brands you've already heard of (ie, the ones that can afford billboards). Apart from this one.

      I used to live in Prague, where the gig posters would get pasted over each other until they were hanging about nine inches off surface zero. Periodically someone would come around and remove the larger strata :-)

  5. wikkit42 says:

    They missed a perfectly good chance to use the word "loglo".

    Come the new year, this city of 11 million, overwhelmed by what the authorities call visual pollution, plans to press the "delete all" button and offer its residents unimpeded views of their surroundings.

    How much of a hack do you need to be to make metaphors based on email?

  6. positricity says:

    Definitely looks like a good thing. The sample billboards in the article are ginormous, and look like they would be utterly blinding at night.

  7. symbioid says:

    I don't think I'd call that which billboards portray "information". Noise, perhaps. Signal? Nope.

  8. curlyeric says:

    While I would love for billboards to go away for good I see several issues with this. They seem to be up for the sole purpose of reinforcing existing brands and recognition, nothing more.

    They will get sued into oblivion by the advertisers. No matter what they implement they can basically guarantee a few million is losses from lawsuits. They basically say as much when he said "This is a radical law that damages the rules of a market economy and respect for the rule of law".

    Advertisers are a tricky bunch and without billboards will switch to some other, more annoying, form of brand recognition. Trust me when I say whatever they replace it with *WILL* be more annoying. Maybe something like giving people $X/month to drive around with signs on their cars.

    • phoenixredux says:

      I'm not certain that cars plastered with wrap-around ads are more annoying than billboards. Cars are part of the urban landscape, whereas billboards dominate it.

      It strikes me that Sao Paulo isn't the only city grappling with this issue. It'll be interesting to see how this resolves itself.

    • the problem with that is that "annoying" is purely subjective. Frankly, I've _never_ had a problem with billboards. It's just one of many things in this world I've learned to tune out for the most part. Some of them I've even enjoyed seeing, such as the ones advertising local restaurants when I'm out of town.

    • skreidle says:

      Well, highway-side advertising for upcoming attractions/hotels/restaurants serve a purpose that's good for the consumers, too.

    • legolas says:

      We have those were I live already (an special mini trucks with paid drivers that do nothing else than drive these around town on Saturday). What a waste of ... everything.
      And they were looking to ban them but couldn't find a good way. And we have them in addition to the billboards. But you are right: they are more annoying.

  9. skreidle says:

    I think that I shall never see
    A billboard lovely as a tree
    Indeed, unless the billboards fall
    I'll never see a tree at all

    -- Shel Silverstein

  10. pozorvlak says:

    That is simply wonderful.

    Hmmmm, I wonder if we could get that passed here...

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