Where the Streets Have No Ads

Sao Paulo. It’s the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and the eighth largest city in the world. It sounds like every advertiser’s dream. And it was—until last year.

Last September, Sao Paulo’s mayor, Gilberto Kassab, banned all forms of advertising in the city, including posters, flyers, billboards, ads on buses, ads on the subway . . . you name it. Even shopfronts weren’t excluded from the city-wide crackdown.

An eerie sight: the remnants of old billboards still line the streets of Sao Paulo

Residents say it’s turned into a “billboard cemetery” of sorts, with blank, stripped-down signs looming tall over the city.

According to some estimates, the city has lost as much as $133 million in ad revenue, as well as over 20,000 jobs that were cut from various agencies in the area.

It’s an interesting idea, for sure, but I’m not sure it was the right move by Kassab in the end. What do you think of the idea to clean up a city by removing advertisements from the streets? Can you imagine what would be left of Times Square if Mayor Bloomberg took a similar stance?

There’s some great points made by both sides on the issue, so head on over to Bloomberg Business Week and read the full article, provided by the folks at Creative Review.


3 thoughts on “Where the Streets Have No Ads

  1. mcole170 says:

    Well, his cleaning up the city made it look pretty rough…

  2. Kimberly Moorehead says:

    I think I would die if I lived there. I would be unemployed and dead. Although It is an interesting idea. The absence of advertising definitely decreases the emotional aspect of buying. Impulse purchases and crazy fads probably aren’t as rampant in the city. I suppose there is a new emphasis on word of mouth marketing and quality products and services. If you can’t sell to the emotions you have to sell to the intellect.

  3. Heidi Willard says:

    Well said, Kim! I can’t imagine going anywhere and not seeing advertisements though!

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