Graphic: Polygraph Design
No advertising please
We encounter around 5,000 advertising messages every day – whether in the guise of posters and flyers, or on television or in electronic form. Several hundred kilograms of paper per person per year are expended on the bothersome advertising that keeps showing up in our mailboxes. Advertising, however, not only generates large mountains of rubbish, but also awakens in us the desire to own more things.
Graphic: Polygraph Design
Initiatives for prohibiting advertising in public spaces are being launched in cities around the world. The absence of adverts on the streets is meant to make the city more liveable, give prominence to the architectural landscape and reduce consumption at the same time. Projects and examples:
According to the “Berlin Werbefrei” initiative, the urban landscape has been taken over by huge billboards and digital advertising signs. The project has thus launched a petition for a referendum that would highly regulate and reduce advertising in public spaces and even forbid digital advertising installations altogether. Only cultural, political or sporting events could be publicized on outdoor posters. A legislative proposal is currently in the process of legal review.
A strict outdoor advertising ban was introduced in this Brazilian city in January 2007. The “Clean City Law” has led to the removal of 15,000 billboards and 1300 giant posters: The giant billboards, posters, placards, energy-consuming neon signs and adverts on vehicles are all gone. Any facade advertising must be proportionate and event advertising must not include company logos. Companies were given three months to adapt to the new regulations.
In 2015, the French city of Grenoble was the first in Europe to phase out advertising in public spaces. By promising to free the city of Grenoble from outdoor advertising, a Civic Alliance formed by the Linke (the Left) and Green parties was able to get more than 40 percent of the vote in the 2014 city election. Places where billboards would have been were now planted with trees instead. More space for bicycle stands and pedestrian zones materialised. And a large number of new, blank billboards are now available for use by cultural and social organisations.
The last advert
Every german household receives about 33 kilograms of advertising per year. Most advertising leaflets are thrown away unread. The initiative “Letzte Werbung” is committed to ensuring that all mailboxes in Germany receive a “no advertising” sticker. It mails the stickers to people’s homes so they can put them on their mailboxes or they are made available at partner locations where they can be picked up for free. This non-profit organization has just launched a campaign called “Stop plastic mail” with which it is possible to reject the delivery of any sealed advertising leaflets.
The “NO-AD Day” project was begun in solidarity with the protest movement “Kauf-Nix-Tag” (Buy Nothing Day), which was conceived in 1992 by the Canadian artist Ted Dave and has taken place every year in late November ever since. Participants in the “NO-AD Day” are asked to remove as much outdoor advertising as possible the day before the “Buy Nothing Day”. The actions are meant to draw attention to excessive consumption and the unchecked use of raw materials that it engenders.
The German Dialog Marketing Association (DDV) offers consumers the chance to add their names to the “Robinson Mailings List”. Anyone who does not want to receive addressed promotional mailings from companies with which they have no customer relationship can sign up. It is also possible to enrol online.