All aboard the anti-advertising wave for Black Friday

Read on for four easy tactics to resist advertising that promotes hyperconsumerism in the run up to Black Friday.

As we enter November, Black Friday and the tidal wave of accompanying advertising for MORE. THINGS. is getting ever closer.

Climate crisis? Who cares. Cost of living crisis? Who cares. Not advertising, the mouthpiece and pollution-spewing engine of global capitalism.

Take part in the ZAP Games: If you want to resist Black Friday and the promotions enabling runaway consumerism, you can take action during this year’s ZAP Games, organised by Subvertisers International. Originating in Brussels, the ZAP Games (“Zone Anti-Publicité”) is 2 weeks of anti-advertising actions in the run up to Black Friday on 24th November. The Games has awards for different categories of ad takeovers – challenge yourself or your team to win the “most beautiful”, “surprise” or even “sculpture” category.

Previous rounds of ZAP have included children sticking leaves on bus stop advertising panels, giant warning stickers unfurled on billboards, post-it notes displacing adverts on public transport, people fire-hosing paint over tube ads and artworks replacing adverts across entire cities.

Artworks, leaves, stickers: anti-ad actions in the Brussels ZAP Games.

Here are some actions that you can take part in to join the ZAP Games in Bristol, or anywhere (any time).

The six sheet cover up

Cover up an advert for a day with a giant piece of paper, with a question or just room to write and draw. Leave colourful pens attached to the ad, hang around and chat to people or just leave it for the day and see what happens. Expect drawings of genitalia – and more creative offerings.

This works best on a paper advert, not a digital ad since the light will shine through. Those can be painted or sprayed over to block out the light though, not necessarily something we would do but… does everyone a favour.

Adblock Bristol will likely be doing a six-sheet cover up around Black Friday. Get in touch to join us or for support setting up your own. Or grab some duct tape, paper and pens and go for it.

Adblock Bristol’s Community Arts Billboard: join an installation

Our much-loved community arts billboard on Mina Road, St Werburgh’s, reclaims public space for art, instead of adverts. The disused billboard by Chaya Veggies has seen artworks by artists DazCat, Laura Erviti, and Soofiya in the last year, and many more in its distinguished history. We’ve got a couple of lush artworks in the pipeline: join us on Saturday 4th November to install a piece about LOVE.

If you’d like to contribute to the Burg Arts board, we’re always on the lookout for artists to collaborate with, funding to pay artists, or other contributions. Want to get involved? Email us. Donate. Drop in and say hi.

Ad paint over

Lots (lots) of the ads in Bristol are technically illegal. Have you noticed how fences, the cycle path and even shops in Bristol have developed a kind of corporate rash? Many ad posters around town, for Netflix, make-up brands or other global corps, have no legal right to be there. Earlier this year we set up a deactivation team to paint over them, with some beautiful results. Grab a roller and some paint and get cracking.

Not sure which ads are illegal? If they’re smaller, paper “4-sheet” posters in a wooden frame tacked onto buildings or temporary fences, and have the Build Hollywood or Out of Hand logos, you can be pretty sure. Adblock keeps track of all planning applications for new ad sites in the city (a legal requirement for new advertisements). We haven’t seen any applications by these cowboy advertisers. Go wild.

Billboards

Taking on a billboard doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Sometimes they’re asking for it and all a person would need to do would be replace a few letters, stick some letters on, block some out. Adblock Bristol aren’t into this but we fully support anyone who is. Here’s some Bristol examples we’ve seen this year:

For more ideas and information about the ZAP Games, read the official ZAP guide. Don’t forget to send anything you see or make to the ZAP crew. xx

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