Arguing From Both Sides

Sao Paolo’s Billboard Ban is about to have it’s first birthday. The ban went into effect and remains, despite threats of multiple lawsuits and cries about the loss of (corporate) free speech issued this time last year. For example:

But advertising and business groups regard the legislation as injurious to society and an affront to their professions. They say that free expression will be inhibited, jobs will be lost and consumers will have less information on which to base purchasing decisions. They also argue that streets will be less safe at night with the loss of lighting from outdoor advertising.

“This is a radical law that damages the rules of a market economy and respect for the rule of law,” said Marcel Solimeo, chief economist of the Commercial Association of São Paulo, which has 32,000 members. “We live in a consumer society and the essence of capitalism is the availability of information about products.”

Strong words. And that bit about the safety lighting provided by advertising? Perhaps desperate words from an industry clinging to it’s grip on public space.

Yet a few months later Sao Paolo’s lack of advertising became a selling point in this commercial for British Movie Channel, Sky Movies. I love this commercial – I would just change the ending a bit.

Yes, freedom from advertising can be bought through a premium movie channel, but we still can’t avoid advertising in public space. Unless you live in Sao Paolo.

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