<body> Public Ad Campaign: Plateau bans billboards in unanimous vote
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Plateau bans billboards in unanimous vote

Our good friends at Pattison outdoor, as well as CBS and Astral media are doing what most outdoor ad companies do best when politely asked to remove offensive signage, put up a fight. It seems in the Plateau area in Montreal residents are in favor of the removal of 45 large billboards. Upon the cities request for their removal, "Jeannot Lefebvre, who speaks for the industry group, promises a long legal battle if Plateau Mont-Royal borough insists on pursuing their intention – a legal battle that will cost the taxpayers."

Wow! Did she just say that she would argue for a minority of non-local constituents intent on claiming the rights to property in which they have little social and aesthetic interest, in the face of overwhelming local support for their removal from individuals whose contact with that property has a direct affect on the quality and culture of the environment in which they live? And did she say she didn't care if the fight cost these local constituents a lot of money? That seems like a poor PR move and the unanimous decision by the borough council to move forward with this ban seems to uphold this view.
This type of behavior is not unusual with outdoor advertising companies intent on reaping profits off of public space despite resistance from local communities. What I find interesting is that outdoor advertising companies seem to realize that they are treading a thin line between a public unaware of the control they have over their environment, and a public awakened to their political and communal powers to demand control over how they live. While it doesn't seem prudent to fight in the face of such strong opposition, relinquishing control so easily could result in many more bans around the country and world. After all these are multinational companies with an interest in more than a single borough of Montreal, but rather maintaining a culture of outdoor media acceptance.
CTV Montreal [Article]
CBC New [Article]

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