June 20, 2024

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OoH: Poster attack on advertising agencies | Individually

A coordinated attack by outdoor advertising activists has hit Europe: so-called adhacks can be seen on a total of 500 ad spaces from JC Decaux, Clear Channel and others. Various organizations have posted fake campaign posters attacking a number of airlines.

“At Lufthansa we will distract you with pictures of trees while we move the planet.” He reads one of the poster decorations. Next to it is an illustration of a passenger looking at a landscape of trees in a magazine – a burning forest can be seen through the plane window. Beneath the cartoon and logo, the phrase says less explicitly: Greenwash Ads by DDB Munich. Next to it is the hashtag “BanFossilAds”.

Activists have posted billboards imitating Ryanair. (Photo: brandalism.ch)

Demanding a ban on advertisements for airlines

DDB Munich is responsible for Lufthansa’s OoH campaigns. With the poster, officials are attacking not only the airlines themselves, but also the advertising agencies. The activist website Brandalism explains that they may be selling a “high carbon lifestyle” as a witch and thus indirectly fueling the climate crisis.

With #BanFossilAds, activists are calling for ads to be banned from companies selling products and services with a high carbon footprint. In addition to Lufthansa and DBB, the attacks are directed against British Airways and Uncommon as well as Easyjet with VCCP. Other posters insult the Ryanair group as “Ruinair” and decry the airport’s expansion. Brandalism says frequent flyers, and business class passengers in particular, are responsible for the additional air pollution. In England, for example, a group pasted a fake British Airways campaign on a Clear Channel billboard. “With the world’s first golf course on board, we’re making business class environmentally friendly,” the idea says.

British Airways satire on Claire Channel Street furniture (Photo: brandalism.ch)
Fake British Airways on Claire Channel Street furniture (Photo: brandalism.ch)

External advertisers are also targeted

Out-of-home locations were affected in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and France. According to Brandalism, Adfree Cities (UK), Badvertising (UK), Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire (France), Climáximo (Portugal), Greenpeace International and 35 other organizations took part in the campaign. The Liège sans Pub group also participated in the so-called Adhacks.

JC Décaux removes a satirical poster in Liege, Belgium.  (Photo: brandalism.ch)
JC Décaux removes a fake poster in Liege, Belgium. (Photo: brandalism.ch)

On her website, she stands against outside advertiser JC Decaux, who again in 2017 was awarded a 15-year contract for ad space in Liege, Belgium. The organization criticizes the city’s financial dependence on advertisers. Although the stated target of this international campaign is airlines and their advertising agencies, criticism is also directed indirectly at external advertisers.

nvidy comment

Everything has been emphasized many times: that such actions almost always involve property damage. It is a small radical marginal group. Ad blocking can not only be useless but also somewhat harmful. Cities rely on outside advertisers’ money for their infrastructure.

Such actions are not new. The archive – well documented – on the Brandalism website dates back to 2012.

The latest measure brings together two types of people: climate activists and dissidents who have found common ground in opposing some advertisers and agencies. Suddenly, in a tense global situation, such attacks have more weight, and the importance seems even greater.

Outside advertising, which has long considered itself a public medium, is now also one – with debates and projections from society often unfair, non-reflective and harmful. But if the OoH really wants to be the last true collective medium, the genre has to contend with that role.

This does not mean that such actions are condoned or restricted. This means turning the screws and, above all, raising awareness. What can OoH do. As an advertising platform, but also as a public platform.

Balthasar Meyer