Eco vandals target bus shelter posters
An artists' collective is vandalising JC Decaux bus shelter printed posters across the east coast capital cities, pulling them out and replacing them with their own climate-change messages, in an attack on the quarter-of-a-billion-dollar sector.
So far, some 80 advertising spots have been targeted by the collective, which has around 40 artists as members, as they seek to 'reclaim public advertising space' with their views.
The activists pretend they are JC Decaux staff, wearing hi-vis branded workwear and using Allen keys to get into the sites, which they are doing in broad daylight. They then rip out the paid-for posters and insert their own.
The action has so far caused a muted response from the company, which says it is taking down the posters virtually as soon as they go up, however it says if the action continues it will go to the police. JC Decaux owns more bus shelter assets in Australia than any other business.
Roadside advertising – excluding the big billboards – is a huge business in Australia with $5m a week being spent on it. Print is a large part of the sector, which includes bus and tram stops and street furniture.
The national spend grew by $20m to $257m in 2018, the last year that figures are available, the 2019 figures are due out soon. The figure is more than a quarter of the entire $930m outdoor media sector.
The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) is currently discussing this matter internally and specifically how it affects its members.
Charmaine Moldrich, CEO of the OMA told Print21 that, "It is our hope that organisations, groups and activists will approach the OMA and its members directly about their campaigns when looking to raise awareness for some of these critical issues. The Out of Home industry is a major supporter of community, government and environmental initiatives, and in 2018 our donation of free advertising space and services was valued at close to $70m."
Operating under the Bushfire Brandalism banner the activists say it is a 'necessary action'. One artist activist Adam Scarf said, “We are making these issues visible in our public spaces and our media; areas monopolised by entities maintaining conservative denial agendas."
Scarf said, "If the newspapers won't print the story, we will.” The Murdoch press is well known for its climate change denialism, although the Nine (formerly Fairfax) press including The Age, and the Sydney Morning Herald, are strong advocates for climate action, as is the Guardian, and the majority of TV stations, with the exception of News-owned Sky.