Adfree Cities Newsletter – October 2023

This is a copy of our monthly newsletter. If you’d like to receive updates from Adfree Cities or your local Adblock group by email, sign up to our mailing lists now.

Hallowe’en is almost upon us, and what better time to explore the gruesome world of meat, egg and dairy advertising? Our brand new guide, launched this week, examines the tactics used by advertisers to manipulate and mislead us all.

We also have a couple of wins to celebrate with you and a look ahead to an exciting opportunity for you to show your artistic side in opposition to the consumerist spectacle of Black Friday.

Finally, a request. If you enjoy these newsletters and know someone else you think would like to be part of the fight against outdoor corporate advertising, please share this email with them. We’ve gained so much momentum in the last few months. There’s never been a better time to be part of the movement.

Artwork above by Lindsay Grime.


End Meat Advertising guide launched

The evidence is clear: we need to consume far less meat and dairy. But adverts all around us are pushing up demand for these foods, and hiding the impacts of intensively farming animals on nature, animals, public health and the climate.

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of The Cows Aren’t Laughing, our new guide to meat, dairy and egg advertising. In the guide, we look at nine tactics used by advertisers to conceal the real stories of the meat, eggs and dairy we consume. By understanding and challenging this misinformation we can – and must – make space for a kinder food system.

Click the image above to watch our video, narrated by Adfree Cities’ Veronica and made by the talented Fergus Dingle. And read on below to register for our webinar at Ethical Consumer Week 2023.


Selling meat, selling deceit: Webinar 6th November 2023

Join Nicola from Adfree Cities as she discusses our new guide to the deceptive tactics of meat, egg and dairy advertising and asks: how do advertising messages uphold the destructive factory farming industry? How can we counter these with stories about how we could live differently? And how can taking action against corporate advertising help shift us to a kinder food system?

The online talk was free to attend and was part of Ethical Consumer Week 2023. Speakers include Arran Stibbe, professor in ecological linguistics, University of Gloucestershire, and Natalie Braine, narrative researcher at Animal Think Tank.


Greenwashing Repsol ads banned (again)

The UK advertising watchdog has banned another Big Oil advert for greenwashing, following Adfree Cities’ complaint.

Spanish oil company Repsol’s advert was banned for misleadingly focusing on renewable hydrogen, when the firm’s production of this fuel type is not yet in operation and the vast proportion of Repsol’s business remains in fossil fuels.

Whilst this result is welcome, it follows just month after similar Repsol ads were also banned. Which just goes to show the ineffectiveness of regulation in the face of fossil fuel greenwash. That’s why we’re calling for a ban on all fossil ads – and you can join us!


No new billboards in Frome

Great news from Frome as an application by outdoor advertising company Wildstone to install a new billboard is REFUSED by Somerset council. An initial application for a digital billboard was shelved after massive public objection, and the revised application for a paper billboard was turned down by the planning board on grounds of amenity and public safety.

This win is a fantastic example of people power and how local democracy can defeat corporate power. Big love to all the campaigners who fought to make this happen.

Jerry Cripps, a local resident, who who set up the No Billboard in Portway FB group said:

“It’s amazing to see what can be achieved when people get together to get their voice heard. Thank you to everyone who got involved and showed your support, especially councillor Shane Collins, which was essential to achieving this victory for the people of Frome.”


ZAP Games is coming

We’re happy to share the news that our European friends in The Subvertisers’ International are organising another round of the ZAP Games. ZAP (Zone Anti-Publicité) is two weeks of creative disobedience against the advertising industry in resistance to the consumer overload of Black Friday. Anyone and everyone is invited to take part.

Between November 13th and 24th the streets of Europe will become a gallery of artistic intervention against corporate advertising (that’s if previous years are anything to go by!).

Find out how to get involved in your city or region.


Badvertising book launch

Adfree Cities is proud to be supporting the launch of the book with two events, one in London on November 24th and one in Bristol on November 29th.

You can pre-order the book from Pluto Press here.


Staff picks

This month, Charlotte, James and Robbie take a turn sharing something interesting they’ve read, listened to or watched.

🎃Dr Nason Maani, who has previously contributed to Adfree Cities’ guest blog series Bad Publicity, has a brilliant podcast on how our health is affected by commercial forces. Episode 9 explores the role of the PR industry in affecting public health outcomes. Well worth a listen.

😈“Nothing sours you on consumerism like moving house” – read this story of one family who managed to move out of their family home without creating any waste or throwing anything away. Read the full story here.

👻In this blog post, Philippa Bannister of Street Space, recounts their collaborative projects to improve the accessibility and play-friendliness of an old railway path in Bradford, while keeping it wild enough for nature – and people – to thrive, too. Read the blog here.


Thank you for supporting Adfree Cities

If you are interested in Adfree Cities and the work we do, there are plenty of ways to get involved. We’re always interest to hear your thoughts, so get in touch!

If you know someone who might like Adfree Cities, please forward them this email and encourage them to join our mailing list.

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

In solidarity,

The Adfree Cities team

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