Pay for a billboard, you bastards

Long-time readers will know that one of my pet hates is advertising, and specifically advertising that’s based on the idea that a business’s right to promote its products is more important than our right to enjoy a world that isn’t a noisy, unpleasant shithole.

I’m pretty consistent about it. Many years ago I wrote what turned out to be a controversial post about flyposting, where I argued that the people who do it – and I admitted to being one of them in a former life – are vandals.

I don’t live in Glasgow any more, so I don’t really see much flyposting (and since I wrote my original post one of my suggestions, that Glasgow introduce continental-style posting pillars, has been implemented). What I do see a lot of is cars.

Is this a new thing?

We’re all used to seeing billboards in fields, canny farmers making a quick buck by sticking some vinyl signage on an old trailer, but increasingly I’m seeing cars, roadworthy cars parked on public roads, emblazoned with names and phone numbers and then left for days or even weeks at the roadside. They all used to be for garages, but recently they’ve expanded to cover gyms, cafes, takeaways… pretty much anything.

They’re a menace, and not just because they’re eyesores. I nearly pranged my car yesterday driving up a hill. Imagine the worst, most dangerous place to park a car. Now imagine there’s a Smart car parked nose-in to the kerb, plastered with graphics advertising some local hellhole or other. I missed it by about three inches. Other ones near me block the views at dangerous junctions, or just annoy me when I’m trying to park and there are no bloody spaces.

The argument, as ever, is that businesses need to promote can’t afford blah blah blah. My argument is that we should be allowed to blow them up with bazookas.

Who’s with me?

(Incidentally, while our advertising cars are annoying, at least they’re not moving: when I was in Vegas a few years ago I was amazed to see dozens of advertising trucks constantly circling; in some places, such as New York, mobile advertising is such a menace that they’ve passed laws to ban it altogether.)