The City of Sao Paulo

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Featured in Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, the city of Sao Paulo has accomplished what we may deem an impossible task: it rid its public spaces of all advertising. Now that’s a place I’d like to see for myself!

Here is an excerpt of an article on the removal of publics ads in Sao Paulo from Bloomberg Businessweek:

São Paulo: The City That Said No To Advertising

The “Clean City” law passed last year by the populist mayor, Gilberto Kassab, stripped the Brazilian city of all advertising. 

by Patrick Burgoyne

A city stripped of advertising. No Posters. No flyers. No ads on buses. No ads on trains. No Adshels, no 48-sheets, no nothing.

It sounds like an Adbusters editorial: an activist’s dream. But in São Paulo, Brazil, the dream has become a reality.

In September last year, the city’s populist right-wing mayor, Gilberto Kassab, passed the so-called Clean City laws. Fed up with the “visual pollution” caused by the city’s 8,000 billboard sites, many of them erected illegally, Kassab proposed a law banning all outdoor advertising. The skyscraper-sized hoardings that lined the city’s streets would be wiped away at a stroke. And it was not just billboards that attracted his wrath: all forms of outdoor advertising were to be prohibited, including ads on taxis, on buses—even shopfronts were to be restricted, their signs limited to 1.5 metres for every 10 metres of frontage. “It is hard in a city of 11 million people to find enough equipment and personnel to determine what is and isn’t legal,” reasoned Kassab, “so we have decided to go all the way.”

The law was hailed by writer Roberto Pompeu de Toledo as “a rare victory of the public interest over private, of order over disorder, aesthetics over ugliness, of cleanliness over trash& For once, all that is accustomed to coming out on top in Brazil has lost.”

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