This: A Happy, Flourishing City With No Advertising.

Where businesses are concerned, it turns out some advertisers are actually thankful for the ban, as it's forced them to reevaluate and improve. "Companies had to find their own ways to promote products and brands on the streets," Lalai Luna, co-founder of ad agency Remix, told the Financial Times last year. "São Paulo started having a lot more guerilla marketing [unconventional strategies, such as public stunts and viral campaigns] and it gave a lot of power to online and social media campaigns as a new way to interact with people."

Anna Freitag, the marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard Brazil, said her company had never considered how inefficient billboards and the like were until they were illegal. "A billboard is media on the road," she told the FT. "In rational purchases it means less effectiveness... as people are involved in so many things that it makes it difficult to execute the call to action."


Marketers, it's absolutely time to think beyond billboards.

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It was 2001 in a research meeting in Sydney (I was a funds analyst, in the process of rating one of Australia's largest managers). I was chatting with the Media analyst, and pointed out the window at a Canon sign.

"Ever bought a printer because of some sign on the freeway?" I asked. "Ever even NOTICED some sign on the freeway?"

I might as well have been talking to a sandwich. In Greek. When the sandwich was Portuguese.

Almost ALL advertising is ineffective - the analysis of its effectiveness is badly analysed (managers ask "Does $X in adSpend result in REVENUE > $X"... when that $X adSpend would otherwise be BOTTOM line, not TOP line).

In fact, in order for adSpend to be effective, you need NPAT/Revenue to be really high (high profit margins)... but who advertises most (outside the US, where Pharma is a huge spender)?

Car companies, insurers, supermarket chains and other companies with NPAT/Sales in the teens or below.

Advertising is a gimmick that relies on stupidity, innumeracy and ego in the managerial cadre; CEOs who would rather have $10b in revenue and makkes losses, than $2b in revenue and with $200m NPAT.

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