Climate hactivists subvert billboard adverts

time:2023-06-10 03:16:17source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:news

Climate activists have hacked billboards as part of an international protest against car adverts.

Billboards in Easton and St Werburghs in Bristol have been replaced with spoof adverts targeting car companies.

The Brandalism group claimed the hacking and local activists are calling for Bristol City Council to cut air pollution by restricting car adverts.

Bristol City Council said it planned to tackle air pollution by investing £424m in low carbon energy projects instead.

Several councils in the UK, including Cambridgeshire, Norwich and North Somerset, have introduced restrictions on advertising for environmentally-damaging products, such as fossil fuel companies, flights and SUV cars.

Despite Bristol City Council banning advertising for unhealthy food, alcohol and gambling, it has yet to introduce similar restrictions on "high carbon" advertising.

When asked whether they would consider advertising restrictions, Bristol City council said it planned to tackle emissions by insulating homes, installing district heating and improving transport, among other measures.

The action in the past few days has been organised by members of climate activist group Brandalism, which hacked into more than 400 commercial advertising billboards and bus stops across the UK, Belgium, France and Germany.

Members use a tactic called "subertivising", which is the act of making spoofs or parodies in relation to political advertisements.

Members of the clandestine Brandalism network, Subtervisers International and Extinction Rebellion were involved in the international action.

The 11 artists involved in the Bristol billboard takeover said the project draws attention to how advertising seeks to sell us more cars, despite the accelerating impacts of climate breakdown.

One resident who took part in the billboard installations said the action also highlights the irony of advertising cars in cities that already suffer from too many cars.

"If the council seriously wants to act to tackle air pollution, and reduce emissions that harm the climate, why don't they follow other councils and ban this type of ad?"

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