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Sao Paulo goes Martin Luther on Signage's Ass





[May 16, 2007] Brazilian City drops Outdoor Marketing Neutron Bomb - the buildings survive, the advertising disappears

 -by Lynn Becker



Imagine there's no neon
It's easy if you try
No kiosks beside us
No billboards on high
Imagine all the buildings
Living for themselves . . .

Pope Benedict's current roadshow invocations against the Fleurs de Mal Sao Paulo bans signagenotwithstanding, it's hard to imagine Brazilians giving up sex, but perhaps even more difficult to imagine them giving up advertising - spur of our appetites, invader of our dreams - but that's exactly the Puritan campaign that's overtaken the city of Sao Paulo.

Planetizen tips us off to the fact that as of January 1st, the city of 11,000,000 people took a stand against "visual pollution" by banishing all forms of outdoor advertising, regulating store signs, and even banning the distribution of fliers in public places. Here's a report on the controversy the ban has evoked, and a discussion between Advertising Age's Bob Garfield and Vinicius Galvao, a Sao Paulo reporterSao Paulo bans signage who observes, "I wrote a big story in my newspaper today that in a lot of parts of the city we never realized there was a big shantytown. People were shocked because they never saw that before, just becausethere were a lot of billboards covering the area."

The photos you see here are taken from a fascinating set of images on Flickr from Tony de Marco that show the often surreal aftermath of the ban. Sides of buildings are suddenly at a loss for words; once mighty billboards find themselves exposed down to their naked frames.

Would our own Richard M - hell, would any mayor in United States outside of, possibly, Vermont - ever dare such an initiative? Yeah, I got your advertising ban right here, pal.

Is it the future or simply a lair?
Is it the real deal or the Bride Stripped Bare?
Is it a fancy not worth thinking of?
Or is it just too damn stark for love?

Join a discussion on this story.


© Copyright 2007 Lynn Becker All rights reserved.

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