Over the Dandruff

Thoughts we often overlook

1. Imagine

Photo by Tony de Marco

Close your eyes. Imagine a Metropolis with no outdoor advertising. No billboards. No flashing neon signs. No decals on the sides of buses. Imagine walking into Times Square and seeing nothing but … buildings; it would be unrecognizable.

Now open your eyes and take a look at the landscape of São Paulo, Brazil, the fourth-largest Metropolis in the world. In 2007, Mayor Gilberto Kassab enforced “Lei Cidade Limpa” (“Clean City Law”) on Brazil’s most important city. The law was put in place to rid the city of it’s “visual pollution” which was mostly outdoor advertising. The relatively new law has become popular with just above a 70% approval rating.

Bob Garfield, of NPR’s On The Media, interviewed Vinicius Gavao, a reporter for Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, about the law and how the city changed.

To the average American consumer the city seems empty and bland; like something is missing. But to Gavao, the “Clean City Law” has allowed many citizens to discover parts of the city that disappeared behind the layers of billboards and logos, which had sparse regulation before 2007.  Although the regulation might deprive the advertising industry of free speech, jobs and revenue, many of those who live in the city agree with the ban and appreciate the changes that uncovered the culture São Paulo.

This type of reform would never work in the United States because we are a culture that thrives on consumerism. We are dependent on trends and glitz and glamour.

Advertisements are a part of our everyday life. They are a part of our cities. Times Square, the mecca of advertisements, wouldn’t be a tourist attraction without them.

It has been said that the only way to escape advertisements in to go to sleep. How about a trip to São Paulo instead?


October 3, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: