BY: JESSICA BEUKER
Riding the over-crowded subway on the way home from work, clicking from page to page as you browse the internet, going for a stroll through your neighbourhood – these are typical things that people do every single day. These are the things that people do while being bombarded with advertisements – 5,000 a day to be specific. The amount of advertising that we are exposed to is in direct correlation to the society we live in: over-saturated, over-hyped and dripping with greed and consumerism. Now, imagine this wasn’t the case.
At the end of 2014, Grenoble, a city in France, was the first European city to pass a ban that would eliminate all outdoor advertisements. This means ridding the city of its 326 ad signs, which include 64 billboards. Furthermore, the plan involves planting 50 young trees in place of the advertisements.
A few ads will be left on bus stops until the city’s contract with JCDecaux – the world’s leading outdoor ad company – expires in 2019. Local business owners are concerned about the impact of the ad ban on their businesses. According to the Telegraph, the city used to earn $868,000 a year through street advertising, but due to competition from Internet ads, that number was expected to plummet to $217,000 in 2015.
The outdoor ad-free space was a campaign promise by mayor Eric Piolle, who based his campaign on a green platform. The project is one of the reasons why Grenoble is becoming a popular city to live in.
According to Daily Mail, in 2013 Grenoble was voted the best city in France to be a student and Forbes magazine ranked it the fifth most innovative city in the world.