Beyond Consumerism: Reducing the Brain Pollution from Advertising
Adfree Cities and Badvertising National Conference
🗓️  Saturday 14th May 2022
📍  Conway Hall, London

Conference homepage | Workshop timetable

Read more about the day in our wrap up blog.

Recordings of Conference Workshops and Plenary Sessions

Morning plenary: Stop the screen

Ad company Clear Channel UK put up a giant bright digital advertising billboard directly opposite Julia’s house in 2021. But were they prepared for the consequences?

With: Julia Williams, local resident and anti-screen campaigner in Barking and Dagenham.

Julia has also written about her experience in this blog.

Afternoon plenary: Clearing the view

With: Heydon Prowse, comedian & journalist behind BBC Radio 4’s Green Inc.

Workshop 1: Big Banks, Big Polluters & Corporate Greenwash

Big brands have always used advertising to launder their public image. How do we stay ahead of greenwash tactics by car manufacturers, airlines, banks, fashion brands and fossil fuel companies? France will prohibit SUV advertising (from 2028) and campaigners are pressing the EU to #BanFossilAds entirely. How do we make big polluters and their financiers the new tobacco?

With: Veronica Wignall from Badvertising, Anna Bryher, Advocacy Lead at Labour Behind the Label, and Svenja Nierwetberg, Barclays campaigner at Fossil Free London.

Workshop 2: The Kids Aren’t Alright: ending surveillance advertising of children

Parents and campaigners are getting organised to take on the big tech firms like Google and Facebook to put an end to targeted online advertising to children. With major recent wins against tech giants, Global Action Plan are leading the way as the world wakes up to the consequences of online tracking, data collection and highly personalised advertising to young people. What actions can we all take? And what’s next for holding online advertising to account?

With: Global Action Plan
Speakers: Ollie Hayes, Global Action Plan

Workshop 3: Beyond Consumerism: how do we communicate an alternative vision of prosperity? 

What is ‘post-consumerism’ and how do we get there? What are the values underpinning it? And what are its implications for late stage capitalism and the growth economy? Join our panel of academics and advertising industry representatives to debate the role of advertising in the new economy.

Panel discussion with: Dr. Amy Isham at the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity; Dr. Eleftheria Lekakis, University of Sussex; and Amy Cameron from Glimpse.

Workshop 4: ‘Subvertising’ as a Right of Reply to corporate messaging

‘Subvertising’, meaning to subvert advertising, is as old as the ad industry itself. Whilst those with most money can pay to put their messages in front of us, subvertising allows ordinary people to take back space from corporate advertisers. Darren Cullen is a satirical artist who uses humour and absurdity to make serious points about big brands. Learn design tips and tricks for critiquing corporate power and practical skills for reclaiming the visual realm.

With: Darren Cullen, Spelling Mistakes Costs Lives and Brandalism

(There is not a recording of this session. Find out more about Subvertising and adhacking on Brandalism’s website )

Workshop 5: ‘Sportswashing’ – how to beat fossil fuel sponsorship in sport

Sport used to rely heavily on tobacco sponsorship until the importance of public health overcame vested interests and it became largely unacceptable. Today, fossil fuel giants like Gazprom and major polluters like airlines and car makers use sport to ‘sportswash’ their images and promote high-carbon lifestyles, while gambling firms emblazen their logos on sweatshirts. Who are the players and organisations working to clean sport up?

With: Andrew Simms from the New Weather Institute and Katie Cross, Pledge Ball members of the Cool Down – sport for climate action network and Robert Noyes, Kick Fossil Fuels Out of Football

Workshop 6: How to Stop Billboards Where You Live

Adblock groups are popping up across London and the UK to reclaim space from corporate advertising. Whether you’re a parent, artist, resident or campaigner, join this session to find out how Adfree Cities can support you to successfully mobilise against new billboards coming to your area, and promote arts, nature and community instead. We’re creating happier, healthier cities free from advertising – all are welcome to join this growing, intersectional movement.

With: Charlotte Gage, Adfree Cities

(There is no recording of this session, but find resources and information on stopping billboards in your area here:

Workshop 7: ‘Whose Streets? Panel on Social Justice and Reclaiming Public Space

This panel will bring together activists from Bristol’s Countering Colston, London’s anti-sexual harassment campaign Good Night Out and Stop and Search Legal Project to explore the links between reclaiming public spaces and social justice. How is a community’s right to self determination linked to public space? And how can we build power and solidarity across our social movements? 

Speakers: Ros Martin from Countering Colston and Katie Finnegan Clarke from Good Night Out and Hollaback London.

Workshop 8: Calling time on gambling ads

After years of campaigning pressure, the UK government has been forced to review the laws around gambling advertising and sponsorship; and some local councils have banned them altogether. How did the Coalition Against Gambling Ads build their campaign? What lessons are there for similar campaigns to end junk food and fossil fuel adverts?   

Speakers: Matt Zarb-Cousin, Clean Up Gambling

Timetable –