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Adblock Bristol

Mar 19

Written by:
19/03/2018 13:23  RssIcon

Adblock Bristol want theirs to be the first city in the UK to put a stop to outside advertising. Ruth Strange spoke to Nicola Round to find out more. 


What would you like to see instead of corporate advertising and why?

This is a really exciting question: what would the people of Bristol do with these spaces if they had a say? Bristol is a fantastic city with a proud independent spirit, alternative culture, creative and free-thinking communities and green aspirations. We want to celebrate this. 

But billboards and bus stops all over Bristol advertise cars, junk food, supermarkets, loans – at the same time as we have a childhood obesity problem, lethal levels of air pollution, stresses over debt and poverty, and local businesses who deserve our support rather than lining the pockets of big corporations.


Image: Skip Ad


Some billboards have already been removed because they were there illegally and others, after local campaigning, have revealed historic buildings behind them. One billboard has even found a new lease of life as a community arts project.


How did Sao Paolo and Grenoble succeed in their campaigns?

In 2007, Sao Paolo removed 15,000 billboards under their ‘Clean City Law’. They also placed restrictions on shop frontage signs – which resulted in some shops getting a brightly coloured makeover to help them stand out. 

In 2015, Grenoble was the first European city to ban outdoor advertising. The mayor saw that removing it would help the city become less stressful, and more creative. He wanted to create a greener city with the space to express its own identity. So, they removed the billboards and replaced them with trees and community noticeboards! Every city has its own unique character, and it’s important for us to find out what would work best for Bristol.

We read about proposals to raise revenue by allowing advertising in city parks. Is it hard to argue against that in a time of cuts?

Parks are places of relaxation and leisure, to escape from the pressures of modern life. Commercial advertising on the other hand is often designed to make us feel inadequate or lacking, encouraging us to buy a fizzy drink to feel sexier, or that we need a new car to be successful.

Advertising has no place in our parks and would detract from their important role – nurturing our wellbeing, a positive connection with nature, and space for children to play. It is regrettable that austerity is leading Bristol City Council to consult on a number of ways to reduce spending on our parks and generate more income. But there has to be a point at which generating income at the expense of people’s health and wellbeing is not OK.

In the long run, removing advertising and making our city a more pleasant place to live and work would be a positive step for everyone.


Are there other campaigns like this, or what could be a good way to start?

We would love to hear from other groups in the UK who want to reduce or remove corporate outdoor advertising. We launched in April 2017 and there has been a lot of attention and support for the campaign already.

We’re a diverse group with many different views and backgrounds, but we are united in our concerns about corporate outdoor advertising and the belief that our beloved city can do better than this.

It’s not a new idea. Places like Berlin and Lille also have campaigns. So, there’s already a lot of existing concern and support which we can bring together, and a network of campaigns across the world which will only get stronger as people look for ways to challenge corporate power and question what our economy is really for – profit or people?

Find out more at, on Twitter @adblockbristol, or email:









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