It’s already the end of 2022! Time to enjoy some festive cheer and look back over what Adfree Cities and our local Adblock groups across the UK have achieved this year.
We are very proud to say that we have done a lot! And we are very excited to look forward to even more adbusting in 2023.
So grab a warming drink, get under a blanket and read on…
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From across the network
Adblock groups around the UK have been taking action at a local level to reclaim their communities from corporate advertising. Here are some 2022 highlights:
- After our conference in May we welcomed new local group Adblock Lewisham who hit the ground running fighting an influx of ‘BT Street Hubs’ and a large digital billboard.
- Adblock Cardiff have gained momentum, with positive talks with Cardiff Council regarding the impact of advertising on communities and the climate, and mobilising to block an application for an unnecessary new ad screen.
- After launching in March Adblock Hackney have had some great successes, including removing 9 digital billboards and mobilising to block another 6.
- This year Adblock Leeds won a grant to support the group, with funding to run a local community nature project.
- Adblock Lambeth have been going from strength to strength with a number of local wins and actions, including an amazing musical advert exorcism with the Stop Shopping Choir.
- Our longest-running group Adblock Bristol turned 5 this year! Highlights from 2022 include a giant community paint by numbers event, and a significant milestone as the group reached a tally of 40 giant digital billboards blocked since 2017. The Bristol group also ran several digital activism sessions, mobilised against a raft of new ad units, and marked Black Friday with anti-consumerism themed actions.
- Adblock Norwich have also been mobilising activists to block digital screens and BT Street Hub advertising units, as well as taking part in national and international adbusting actions and outreach.
Thank you so much to all our groups and activists for taking action to fight against corporate advertising and reclaim public space for communities.
Adfree Cities BIG WINS!!
- In May, Adfree Cities held our national conference, bringing people from around the country together to discuss and strategise the burgeoning movement to resist corporate advertising. Find the videos and recordings from the day here.
- We celebrated a major win when the UK advertising regulator ruled that HSBC’s environmental claims in their advertising were misleading. This landmark ruling against greenwashing contributed to the long-running, multi-movement campaign against HSBC’s fossil fuel financing, helping to reach an enormously significant recent announcement that HSBC will stop financing new oil and gas fields.
- This year we launched our first citizen science project, Adspotters, encouraging people to ‘catch’ ads in their local areas, contributing to our ongoing policy work tackling harmful advertising. Gotta catch ’em all – join the Adspotters team!
- In response to the ongoing energy crisis, we launched a national petition urging the government to switch off energy-hungry digital advertising screens, following France, Germany and countries across Europe. Sign and share the petition.
- At the Subvertisers International Gathering in Paris we met with activists from 13 countries for workshops, action training and networking as part of the growing international anti-advertising movement.
- During Ethical Consumer Week in October we again ran an event scrutinising the socio-economic and health impacts of outdoor advertising. We look forward to sharing more research on this topic with you in 2023.
- We supported a European Week of Action Against Aviation Advertising in September as part of the wider #BanFossilAds campaign to end advertising that fuels the climate emergency.
- Adfree Cities has featured in national and international media coverage this year, with coverage in the BBC, Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC Radio and more.
Adfree Cities have welcomed some new staff members in the last few months:
- James joins us from his role at the Bristol Activist as our new Counter Greenwash Arts Organiser with some exciting projects to highlight the impact of car advertising and greenwash.
- Peter has come on board with his expertise in Forensic Architecture to research how the location of billboards is linked to socio-economic indicators and the health of communities.
Keep an eye on the website to find out more about the whole team in the new year.
Looking forward to 2023…
We are excited about what 2023 will bring! We’re looking forward to our Adblock Network AGM at the start of the year, a chance to bring all our local groups and Adblock Coordinator Training Programme members together to network, discuss tactics and make adbusting plans.
Keep an eye on our social media and newsletters for ongoing opportunities to get involved with Adfree Cities and take action against advertising. We look forward to another year of holding corporations to account and creating the ad-free cities we want to see.
Thank you for supporting Adfree Cities this year
If you’d like to donate to our campaign as we tackle greenwash, stand up for our public spaces and take on the juggernaut of commercial advertising, you can do so here: adfreecities.org.uk/donate
The Adfree Cities team