Sao Paulo’s Advertising Ban

In 2006 Gillberto Kassab, centre-right mayor of the world’s 4th largest city Sao Paulo, passed his ‘Clean City Law‘ – requiring the immediate removal of all 15,000 advertising billboards, posters, bus ads and store signs from across the city.

The progress of the ban opened up a lot of debate of the pros and cons of advertising, especially the ‘unsolicited’ type you can’t avoid.

On the one hand, it was argued, ads were necessary to inform the customer, promote competition, support cultural activities, and even stimulate the consumer spending necessary to support the economy.

On the other hand ads were accused of being a violation of privacy, psychological manipulation, promoting consumption and greed, encouraging personal debt and providing an unfair advantage to rich multinationals, compared to smaller local businesses. The presence of so many advertising billboards was also considered ugly !

Six years later the ban is largely regarded as a success, with 70% of residents describing the law as having been beneficial. Even a number of advertising agencies have voiced their approval of the ban.

“Protect me from what I’m going to want”

Photo by Deigo3336, via Flickr

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Top 10 Anti-Consumerism Must Haves

Anti-consumerism is the hot new trend on the High Street – get it now while stocks last !

Check out these links for all your anti-consumerist needs . . .

1 – CONSIDER MANUFACTURED DEMAND

Watch Annie Leonard’s The Story of Bottled Water.

2 – WATCH ANTI-CONSUMERIST COMEDY

Have fun watching comedians George Carlin and Dylan Moran, or the Consumerism Musical.

3 – CONSIDER YOUR STATUS ANXIETY

Ponder the relationship between Status SymbolsVeblen Goods and Conspicuous Consumption, before evaluating the extent of your own status anxiety: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

4 – LISTEN TO ANTI-CONSUMERIST SONGS

Listen to Warren Zevon’s Down In the Mall, Lily Allen’s The Fear, Eddie Vedder’s Society, Pete Seeger’s Little Boxes, or Barenaked Ladies If I Had A Million Dollars.

5 – PLAN TO DOWNSIZE YOUR CHRISTMAS

Talk to your friends and family about downsizing this Christmas – try a make your own gift, buy local, buy ethical, buy second-hand, limited value, or single gift  Christmas. Or if you’re really feeling hard-core a buy nothing Christmas. Perhaps take some (slightly crazy) inspiration from Reverend Billy.

6 – WATCH ANTI-CONSUMERIST FILM CLIPS

Find anticonsumer references in the movies - 12 MonkeysFight ClubThey Live, and Into the Wild.

7 – WATCH A CONSUMERISM DOCUMENTARY

Watch Jonathan Porrit’s Consumerism TV documentary: Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4.

8 – INOCULATE YOUR KIDS

Teach your children about advertising and how to resist it – start with what an Adver-Game is. Watch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

9 – USE THE SYSTEM

Consider using consumerism to make a positive difference – you could join 9 Carrots (formerly known as Carrot Mob), who persuade local companies and businesses to carry out environmental and other projects by offering a large group of crowdsourced customers. Don’t really understand ? Watch the video.

10 – HAVE A DAY OFF FROM BUYING THINGS

November 26th is Buy Nothing Day in the UK, after Thanksgiving in the US – celebrate by buying nothing at all !

‘The things you own end up owning you’ – TYLER DURDEN, FIGHT CLUB

Photo by Littleyiye, via Flickr

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