Whether it’s encouraging graffiti, removing important light sources which the city did not pay to replace, destroying culturally significant displays, or promoting sterilized monotony in the surroundings, it seems there are several good reasons why outright banning of advertisements might not be the utopian vision some claim it to be.
Being surprised to learn about viewpoints which contradict the popular narrative is the best you can hope for from a comment section, if the critique is offered in good faith.
As an aside, I remember a short Brazilian documentary on São Paulo's "reverse graffiti" (doing a drawing or mural by skillfully removing dirt from a dirty wall, so that the white spaces create an image) where the police detained the artist doing it, despite the fact he was literally cleaning the wall.
> the city would not only lose revenue from absent ads
The money would have mostly come from residents, with a bunch of it going to the advertisers, who advertise to increase profits, away from the city. I would see the city gain money.
I've seen plenty of billboards for soda and junk food, rarely if ever for broccoli. I imagine the change improved people's health and local farmers' lives.
Lack of proper light is unrelated from "outdoors" banning.
The change definitely made our lives better. But not in a utopian way of course. There were problems exposing dirty, broken, ugly walls that were never taken care of. Still, I believe, a net positive.
In Australia I can't just stick a giant billboard in front of my house or shop without local government permission
Any signs need to be in keeping with the existing streetscape and usually kept to reasonable proportions
Until you experience a lack of advertising, it's hard to imagine quite how gray and boring and non-vibrant a city looks without it. Turns out billboards and panels full of dramatic movies and TV shows, beautiful smiling faces selling makeup and phones... actually add a lot of character to a city and make it feel like things are happening and going on.
Imagine if books no longer had graphic covers anymore, just all solid gray and beige and black covers, and you walked into a bookstore. It feels kind of like that.
If you're going to get rid of advertising, at a minimum you've got to replace it with something -- like a lot of murals, like murals everywhere. (The Bushwick neighborhood of NYC has some areas full of street art, which works pretty well.)
The fact is, Sao Paulo is a brutalist city, not a beautiful one. I suggest you don't confuse the two. Of course you hated Sao Paulo. It's skyscrapers, it's car-centric, it's ugly.
A historic village of 5,000 people is small and beautiful. Of course advertising would be out of place.
But the endless concrete jungle of São Paulo is obviously nothing like that. My only point was that advertising can give color and vibrancy... when there isn't any to begin with. It most certainly does not apply do Assisi. :)
My sense is a city - and people - needs time to adapt to these changes, like when the volume is turned down suddenly and the restaurant takes on an entirely different vibe. It’s at least a few minutes of some adjustment of lighting and people adapting with more hushed voices for a new ambiance to stabilize.
It really says a lot about how we're conditioned that people would even actually miss advertising billboards when they're not there.
I didn't even know they had banned outdoor advertising until I read this article. I certainly never thought "you know what, this city needs more outdoor advertising." Readers - if you've never visited Sao Paulo, please don't take these negative accounts to heart and go see it for yourself.
I lived in both cities and I loved Rio, despite its problems. I found SP to be quite boring, grey and overcrowded (save for select places like Liberdade, Ibirapuera, the former Portuguese Language Museum, Serra da Cantareira, etc), yet I always thought that if I had lived there much longer, I could have grown to really like it. There's a feeling that something pulses under the surface and you can only experience it via serendipity, word of mouth and curiosity, if that makes sense.
Nuance is hard to observe in the face of being shouted at, both views have their fans and both have a point.
Some cities would improve without advertising, others would show how bleak and gray they really are.
Thanks, but no thanks.
The places you saw in SP that were boring and grey were probably boring and grey when it had ads too. But with big boards with shop names in it.
Don't confuse the side effect for the desired effect: if advertisers found out how to make ads cheaper workout reducing their effectiveness, but at the expense of secondary effects, they would.
From your description, it sounds as if the city is ugly and that advertisements cover that up.
That's not a reason to long for advertisements, that is a reason to long for a nicer city.
Go to Lao. One of the nice feelings after crossing the border from Thailand is that you slowly realize that this visual thrash is gone.
I worked in advertisement and still can't ignore how terrible the city was with rampant billboards. Attempting to regulate it was not having any effect thanks to easy ways the law could be circumvented by the rich and (legally) powerful.
Banning them outright was a breath of fresh air.
But HN attracts a lot of contrariam thinking people. Which is a good thing I think, even if in this matter I am with the majority
Hopefully more will follow.
I’d rather have our cheerful city back than this trashy version of dusty “there was a banner here 2 years ago” marks all over the place.
I find it easier to walk around Sao Paulo now. And Liberdade is still a special place with the asian lanterns in the lamp posts, the Bradesco building, and there are stores with Noren and signs.
Only difference is that the signs are now proportional to the store facade.
And we still have grafitti that helps to keep the city interesting, as well as our Portuguese stone pavement and other little things that make Sao Paulo beautiful even without all the billboards and ads.
Rarely do I hear the absence of ads framed as a challenge to beauty. So rarely, it only happened twice - your post, and the post you replied to.
Though even if what you say is true, it must be balanced by the many more neighborhoods destroyed by ads.
Forcing people to give directions like "look for the big green building next to the blue building" doesn't seem like a positive to me.
They have some window signage and have added back a much more reasonably sized sign with their business name.
For storefronts less than 10m, there can be a single sign of at most 1.5m².
For storefronts from 10m to 100m, there can be a single sign of up to 4m².
For storefronts above 100m, there can be two signs, each up to 10m², placed at least 40m apart.
Before the law, every shop needed their sign to be as big as possible to stand out in the mess. Now that all the signs are smaller it is not a probkem anymore.
Several streets became way too dark, and violence increased. Also, our Paulista Avenue used to look a bit like Times Square, but now it's just a dead street as the others.
All of this just because a politician got mad after seeing a outdoor featuring a couple in underwear (it was a panties ad).
just to be clear, i’m not arguing for or against advertising in the open, just replying to the first point
Lights do not stop crime in the way you're saying. I've been robbed twice in well lit locations. And a tiny percentage of those billboards were lit. This whole point sounds like reaching at straws without any logic behind it.
Avenida Paulista never looked like Times Square. Thankfully, because Times Square is a halogen light hellscape only tourists can stand and for little amounts of time at that. Paulista looks great, and dare I say better than it could have ever looked had it had huge billboards blocking the little sky one can see.
This was NOT a politician decision on a whim. Come on. That makes me doubt you've ever lived in São Paulo. This debate was raging for years and only came to fruition after the inability of regulation to have any effect on rampant illegal advertising covering more and more of the sky.
> I've been robbed twice in well lit locations. And a tiny percentage of those billboards were lit. This whole point sounds like reaching at straws without any logic behind it.
The irony of this comment is something I hope the author themselves recognizes.
I'll pretend I didn't read this, because you're simply against EVERY SINGLE study about this.
"This was NOT a politician decision on a whim."
Oh, let's forgot the rage Jose Serra had with that underwear outdoor and proposing the law approved during Kassab's administration.
"This debate was raging for years and only came to fruition after the inability of regulation to have any effect on rampant illegal advertising covering more and more of the sky."
No, there was a debate about OUTDOORS, not about the size of a store logo or shit like that.
And that was SO SERIOUS, that BANKS and GAS STATIONS never had to reduce their ads.
So, the little grocery store with a neon is a problem, a huge gas station with the Shell branding is not?
All the huge banks agencies with their big logos and colors are not a problem, the little pharmacy is?
This is the problem I have with this law and others like it: that outdoor advertising is seen as an important issue worthy of debate, in a country where half of the population doesn't have access to flush toilets. Brazilian political and bureaucratic elites (of every ideological disposition) seem to think that this is Norway.
Hong Kong is famous for its high density of neon business signs. Incidentally, Hong Kong used to be poorer than Brazil not too long ago, and now boasts one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. I'm not saying that outdoor advertising brings economic prosperity, just that they seem to have picked the right priorities.
I’m for removing the T bar signs. Imagine Tokyo without the signs and neon.
There has to be a workable medium where there is some signage without it becoming obtrusive and garish.
 https://jbc.bj.uj.edu.pl/dlibra/publication/136678/edition/1... — page 20 (26).
I think a better middle ground is to ban advertising that is not related to the structure the ad is on - that would get rid of a lot of the clutter created by billboards and third-party ads on things like bus stops, while still allowing stores to advertise themselves and what they do to people walking by.
By the same token sign removal should open up the street potentially making it feel safer.
I believe the notional theme is 'design' (and good design being 99% invisible) - but it's a wonderful mish-mash of stuff that's always interesting, all covered by the exceptional dulcet tones of "Roman Mars"
but the most vivid memory i had in sao paulo was when we were in the subway and as we're exiting the subway my friend had his phone stolen while his hand was in his pocket touching his phone. my friend was upset and had to take time out of our vacation to call his banks and cancel his cards, etc.. but i was actually pretty impressed how they pulled it off (definitely a gang, and most likely everyone around us was in on it). the city seemed fine otherwise.
actually the other memory i had while in sao paulo/brazil was lots of people wanting to take pictures with four asian dudes? anyone in brazil shed light on this? i know there is a big japanese community in brazil so i'm curious what their curiosity was with us.
City Of Los Angeles has regulations on different aspects billboards. BUT, city has no idea idea how many even exist.
Most of them done on the cheap and in bad taste - optimised to draw attention.
Fortunately at least in some cities regulations followed and most of that clutter was removed during the first years of the XXI century.
Only bad second order effect I experienced are people employed to lure you into some places like strip clubs etc.
My take is that banners should be allowed as long as there's a style guide issued by the city which they would have to follow.
Italy is doing great in this regard - the worst I saw there were outdoor photo prints of menus which aren't nearly as bad as large posters in safety-vest yellow I saw back home.
The comment you are replying to suggested just that, unless you mean your definition of nice and not theirs.
This is how it actually looks like: https://img.jovempan.uol.com.br/uploads/2017/04/2021588876-p...
Do you think advertising is going to fix that?
Many of the old buildings in downtown Sao Paulo used to have ads on their sides. Renting space for ads provided extra income for these buildings that was sometimes used for renovations. People who live in these buildings are usually not that well off to begin with (some of these buildings are known as "vertical slums"), and there's little incentive to repaint when people know that graffiti will be back before the new paint has even finished drying. I live in downtown Sao Paulo and have seen it happen several times.
By the way, fines for business owners who put out signs outside the law's strict specifications are way, way heftier than fines for graffiti, which usually goes unpunished anyway.
TLDR: yes, I really see advertising as the lesser evil in this case.