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Naked Billboards In Brazil: Toronto Next?

This afternoon I caught a post through my RSS reader from the Leo Burnett blog, in a post from Jason Oke about billboard advertisements in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
You can read the original post here (or over at the Spacing Wire).

To sum up, it covers a move by the city of Sao Paolo to ban all outdoor billboard ads.
While I think this is an interesting concept, I was unable to visualize what it would look like until I clicked through and saw the results from the change.  Jason’s original post links to photos by Tony de Marco, a Sao Paolo resident, who has profiled the negative space once occupied by billboard ads in a Flickr photo set.  For me, this photo set is interesting both as a marketer, but also as a photographer.

Returning to Toronto, local activist Rami Tabello has put together a campaign to combat illegally placed signs across the city.  His website – – has received local coverage in both mainstream media and Toronto-based blogs, and is running a campaign in the hopes that Toronto doesn’t suffer from the same problem that plagued Sao Paolo.
While tourists treat advertising hot-spots as tourist destinations (like New York’s Times Square), to the average commuter or resident mass advertisements which disrupt your daily routine are often just plain annoying and aggravating.


With Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas square transformed into a Canadian version of Times Square, Torontonians can take relief that the Dundas Square has had its naming rights sold, and will now be called the Toronto Life Square.

While this post doesn’t deal directly with online marketing, I see the move by Sao Paolo as a reaction to invasive advertisements.  As online marketers, we need to make sure we are not ostracizing those we are marketing to, and to not overload our customers.
Do you think Rami’s illegalsign’s project would have been able to gain such following if blogging wasn’t an available – and pretty-much free – medium?

One Comment

  1. sarah
    sarah April 18, 2007

    If anyone reading this has ever been to Branson, Missouri you’ve seen enough signage to last a lifetime. It’s a beautiful place but the signs have taken over. The gaudy, tacky signs are definitely visual polution that detract from your enjoyment of the drive, and end up becoming irratating and stressful. Go Sao Paolo!

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