OMC's Baker vows to 'squash' outdoor ad sabotage campaign
After the recent large scale advertising takeover Brandalism reclaimed 30 billboards in the UK, the OMC's Mike Baker spoke with Brand Republic about the action and the industries response. Talk of quick removal and not giving the civil disobedience project media attention, underscore his familiarity with these types of actions. What I find interesting is the industries unwillingness to engage the larger argument regarding how we use our public spaces. Mike Baker makes the typical assertions that the industry has a track record of good behavior, eliminating alcohol and cigarette ads after public outcry was too much to bear, but the argument here is not about content, but rather about the industries very existence. Facing this actions request for the elimination of outdoor advertising in general, it makes sense that they would try to not acknowledge this fact in an effort to sweep these citizens demands under the rug and continue to do business as usual. In fact this is often what we see happen when the industry brings its huge resources to bear on these citizens hard work, quick removal and a media silence that brings into focus the disparity between commercial and public access to our shared environments.
What's assuring to me is that the removal of alcohol and tobacco ads was in part motivated by similar projects to Brandalism, most notably the war waged by culture jamming takeover artist Ron English. His critique of specific ad contents helped to pressure the industry and motivate a public response. If history is any indication of what is to come, the Brandalism action and the many similar large scale advertising takeovers that have come before it, will eventually be the groundwork upon which a unified public response can take shape. Only time will tell if we will come together to improve the quality of our public spaces and strive towards a more utopian vision of the cities we live in.
View the whole Brand Republic Article [HERE]