<body> Public Ad Campaign: October 2011
This blog is a resource for ad takeover artists and information about contemporary advertising issues in public space. If you have content you would like to share, please send us an email.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Moscow authorities plan to remove all ads from historical buildings

Watch the demand grow for an ad free public space!
Moscow authorities plan to remove all advertisements from the city's historical buildings, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said.

In particular, in the next two weeks a gigantic logo of Mercedez will be removed from the roofs of one of the historical buildings near the Kremlin.

Sobyanin said that such billboards and logos often spoil the view of the Russian capital.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

This Space Available - Trailer Release

The trailer for This Space available was just released today and we couldn't be more excited to see the film. Take a look and we hope to see you at the IFC November 5th. Get tickets [Here]

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Advertising is a poison that demeans even love – and we're hooked on it

The article below penned by George Monbiot sums up nicely my personal thoughts on advertising's influence and ultimately the reason for its removal from our shared public spaces. In this time of rethinking our societal priorities as we grapple with increasing income inequality and financial injustices, taking a look at the source of our desires might be a good idea. If we allow an industry that relies on "ingenious methods of bypassing the conscious mind." to persist in the space we collectively occupy, it would follow that our collective consciousness will behave according to the messages which pervade. These commercial messages demand consumption and a lack of financial control as evidenced by "Academic research suggest(ing) a link between advertising and both consumer debt and the number of hours we work." That is scary stuff and to wrest control of our economic powers, getting rid of the message might be our only recourse. This says nothing to the detrimental psychological effects this constant messaging has on our core social values, our extrinsic and intrinsic sensitivities. Read the article and let us know your thoughts.
"...But perhaps the most important impact explored by Think of Me As Evil? is the one we discuss the least: the effect it has on our values. Our social identity is shaped by values which psychologists label as either extrinsic or intrinsic. People with a strong set of intrinsic values place most weight on their relationships with family, friends and community. They have a sense of self-acceptance and a concern for other people and the environment. People with largely extrinsic values are driven by a desire for status, wealth and power over others. They tend to be image-conscious, to have a strong desire to conform to social norms and to possess less concern for other people or the planet. They are also more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression and to report low levels of satisfaction with their lives.

We are not born with our values: they are embedded and normalised by the messages we receive from our social environment. Most advertising appeals to and reinforces extrinsic values. It doesn't matter what the product is: by celebrating image, beauty, wealth, power and status, it helps create an environment that shifts our value system. Some adverts appear to promote intrinsic values, associating their products with family life and strong communities. But they also create the impression that these values can be purchased, which demeans and undermines them. Even love is commingled with material aspiration, and those worthy of this love mostly conform to a narrow conception of beauty, lending greater weight to the importance of image.

I detest this poison, but I also recognise that I am becoming more dependent on it. As sales of print editions decline, newspapers lean even more heavily on advertising. Nor is the problem confined to the commercial media. Even those who write only for their own websites rely on search engines, platforms and programs ultimately funded by advertising. We're hooked on a drug that is destroying society. As with all addictions, the first step is to admit to it."

Full Article [Here]

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Joy Of Not Being Sold Anything

Martin Reis sent us this from way up north. We couldn't agree more and were tipped off that this is an old banksy from 2005. Either way its a gem.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Self Esteem Act: Parents Pushing to Pass Anti-Photoshop Laws in the US

While this post is not directly related to outdoor advertising, it does speak to one of the major issues with advertising in general and thus one of the reasons to censor those affects in our daily lives as we travel through our shared environments. Advertising, with its interest in creating desire for a product, often presents an unattainable image of the self, thus creating a sense of need which cannot be fullfilled. While this is nothing new, those who are aware of it tend to critically engage advertising and omit it from their daily experience as often as possible, something one cannot do with advertising in public.
A Lancome advertisement featuring Julia Roberts caused a stir back in July after it was banned by the UK for being too “Photoshopped”. Now a couple in the US are trying to bring stricter regulation to the United States. Seth and Eva Matlins, founders of Off Our Chests, have started the Self Esteem Act:


Monday, October 17, 2011

POPaganda: The Art and Subversion of Ron English

Billboard takeover by Ron English

This is an old video, but definitely a must-see. Ron English is one of the most intelligent and politically aware artists I can think of, and this video explains his billboard takeover activities perfectly. Thanks to Bomit for the reminder that this was out there.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

This Space Available - DOC NYC World Premier at the IFC Theater

PublicAdCampaign is proud to announce the world premier of the documentary film This Space Available. This full length feature focuses on the issue of visual pollution in our global community. Intent on creating a critical dialogue on the issue, the film investigates a wide range of perspectives including those of billboard executives, government agencies, and public space activists like myself. While the film will eventually be widely available, DOC NYC will be premiering the film on Saturday November 5th at 7pm at the IFC theater in New York City. There will also be a Q&A after the screening for viewers to question the film makers and a few of the subjects. We hope to see you there.
To purchase tickets for the This Space Available premier at the DOC NYC fest at the IFC theater on 11-05-11, please visit the DOC NYC website [HERE]. Remember there is limited space available so get your tickets now before they are all gone.

The grassroots movement against visual pollution
A documentary film directed by
Gwenaelle Gobe
Executive Producer: Marc Gobe/Emotional Branding
World Premiere at IFC Center/ New York
Saturday November 5th Time: 7:00 PM
Tuesday November 8th Time: 1:15 PM


Billboards and commercial messages dominate the public space like never before. But is a movement taking shape to reverse this trend?

In This Space Available, filmmaker Gwenaëlle Gobé says yes. Influenced by the writing of her father, Marc Gobé (Emotional Branding), this new director brings energy and urgency to stories of people around the world fighting to reclaim their public spaces from visual pollution.
From 240 hours of film, 160 interviews and visits to 11 countries on five continents, This Space Available charts a fascinating variety of struggles against unchecked advertising and suggests that more than aesthetics is at stake. If Jacques Attali once called noise pollution an act of violence, is visual pollution also such an act? Should we also consider, as one Mumbai resident says, “which classes of society can write their messages on the city and which classes of society are marginalized?”
Gobé offers a canny generational analysis of visual pollution, laying blame not just with the advertising juggernaut but also an entire generation of Baby Boomers, whose consumption-based culture has implicated them in the environmental fallout. She argues that it’s her generation, left to do the cleaning up, that is now leading the fight back.

But the filmmaker also recognizes the history and politics behind this fight. Turning to such legislation as the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, Gobé shows how the enforcement of this landmark law, designed to regulate outdoor advertising on America’s roadways, has steadily eroded. And today, public space activist Jordan Seiler faces harsh penalties for covering illegal outdoor ads with art, while officials turn a blind eye to illegally erected billboards.

Still, the film strikes a hopeful tone. A standout interview features Gilberto Kassab, the popular mayor of Sao Paulo, who threw a stone into the quiet pond of the billboard industry by successfully banning outdoor media in his city – the eighth largest in the world. The move is not without precedent: Houston’s 1980 billboard ban was also a deliberate tactic to improve its flagging image, economic competitiveness, and quality of life.

In the end, This Space Available challenges audiences to recognize that aesthetics and beauty go hand in hand with responsibility. Gobé asks why brands continue to ally themselves with an industry that cuts down trees, hogs energy, and spends its profits in courts and statehouse lobbies, especially while younger consumers push for improved corporate citizenship? And is everyone equally to blame for enabling the spread of visual pollution, while other humble individuals show that it’s possible to reverse it?

The film navigates these issues without promoting a universal solution. Gobé instead weaves together stories reflecting diverse local responses to an increasingly global condition. This Space Available compels audiences to consider these stories long after the film ends, or at least to remember them each time we speed by a billboard.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

For and Against The Truth Exhibition in Perth Western Australia

I am extremely excited to be a part of the upcoming For and Against the Truth group exhibition in Perth Australia opening on October 20th. Below are the three pieces I made for the show. Each is 26x50 inches and is made from used books, spray paint, ink and pencil. The shows theme, For and Against the Truth, asked artists to interpret three images of themselves, the truth as others see it, the truth as you see it and the more likely combined truth that mixes the two. Instead of myself, I focused on PublicAdCampaign and used three books for these pieces whose topics represent the spectrum of political realities in which PublicAdCampaign operates. The first is The Merchant Bankers, the second Communism: A Historical Narrative, and the last, Growing Up Absurd. I very much enjoyed giving importance to the books I chose to use and will most likely continue this in upcoming works.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

OX For Bien Urbain

RJ over at Vandalog recently posted this new work by OX for the Bien Urbain festival. He is touting it as a nearly perfect advertising takeover, fulfilling several categories which focus around the disruption of commercial messages without overtly aggressive imagery and the works ability to inspire others to take similar action.

I have been a fan of OX's work for a long time now. He is the most consistent artist working with outdoor advertising in public space. As RJ mentioned, the work is non-intrusive and yet aggressive by its very existence. Hidden in broad daylight, recognizing one of OX's takeovers is like being let in on an inside joke. You wonder if anyone else around you recognizes that the tiny local piece of the world you are living in has been changed for the better. This couldn't be more true with this piece.
RJ adds one con to this recent disruption which I disagree with and that is that the piece is up high enough that it does not give the viewer the sense that ad takeovers are something simple enough that they might be able to do them on their own. For me, part of working in public with ad takeovers is to remind other public citizens that interaction with our shared spaces can be an important part of feeling connected to ones space and community. It also allows citizens to question outdoor advertising's preeminence in those public spaces and in doing so imagine alternative media which might better suit their needs. The difficulty of the takeover should not be seen as discouraging but rather a challenge to those interested to go bigger and better with their actions. While many advertising takeovers can be simple to pull off, many are not and that should not reflect poorly on their ability to inspire other action.

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      Sharon Zukin
      The Cultures of Cities

      Miriam Greenberg
      Branding New York

      Naomi Klein
      No Logo

      Kalle Lasn
      Culture Jam

      Stuart Ewen
      Captains of Consciousness

      Stuart Ewen
      All Consuming Images

      Stuart & Elizabeth Ewen
      Channels of Desire

      Jeff Ferrell
      Crimes of Style

      Jeff Ferrell
      Tearing Down the Streets

      John Berger
      Ways of Seeing

      Joe Austin
      Taking the Train

      Rosalyn Deutsche
      Evictions art + spatial politics

      Jane Jacobs
      Death+Life of American Cities