Sunday, February 18, 2007
Why billboards must go.
The problem with billboards and advertising in public places is they are an invasion of privacy. Unlike magazine, tv, radio (etc) advertising you cannot choose to turn it off or avoid it. Nor does it offer anything in return. It is a medium that offers no benefit or advantage to the person it is inflicted on.
At least television ads subsidise the programming. Without doubt some billboards are entertaining - I thought the anti GE poster for short lived MADGE activist group was particularly good. But most are rubbish. Literally. Badly executed. Nothing important to say.
The debate has led to a great deal of hysteria - mostly from people with a vested interest in perpetuating the deployment of hoardings. Perhaps the idea that the issue at stake is 'property rights' is the creepiest. If you own a building you have every right to plaster anything you like on its external surfaces. Is that an antisocial point of view? I think so. In the UK you could have an ASBO slapped on you for simply thinking that way...It is the same kind of twisted logic that permits property developers to construct disastrous confections like the (ob)Scene apartments that create a bleak canyon along Beach Road.
The Auckland City Council and Dick Hubbard in particular might be hapless and ineffectual but that is a separate issue from the billboard advertising question. It has nothing to do with either the aesthetics of any single ad - that is a red herring or anything to do with party politics. I am sure we could learn to live without them.
Let's make sure the ban extends to political hoardings at election time too.