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White image with faint illustrations of brick wall.Spray-painted pikachu graffiti parody of album art for Cartoon of a Mobil service station with man walking across the parking lot towards camera. Have you noticed how billboard advertising serves no useful purpose for consumer decision-making? That’s deliberate.And there is a sinister reason why billboards are so stunningly anti-informative. Rear view of young man with backpack standing with bicyle, low angle. The man is standing looking at a billboard advertising on the wall of a nearby building.Perspective shot of two pedestrians walking along a walkway near a fence that has been spraypainted with graffiti tags. The purpose of billboards isn’t to inform. The purpose of billboards is simply to ‘tag’ our public spaces.Long shot of cyclist riding bike with huge Pepsi billboard behind him. Tagging our public spaces as theirs.Cartoon comics panels of graffiti artist in hoodie looking at underpass before spaying graffiti. Advertisers 'tag' public spaces in the same way that graffiti artists 'tag' walls with their marks. The target space is chosen.Cartoon of graffiti artist 'before and after', showing a skull and crossbones graffiti sprayed on the wall. And the taggers leave handiwork that everyone else is expected to tolerate.But graffiti artists can only 'tag' surfaces that already exist. By contrast, advertisers are free from such pesky limits.Fabricating structures above our heads, the advertisers help themselves to the unclaimed spaces above our heads. Eclipsing the skies with their tags.Cartoon of elderly people looking at spray painted graffiti with disapproval. Yet the 'public decency' advocates who scorn graffiti vandalism seem strangely unbothered by corporate 'tagging'.Cartoon of man in suit looking at billboard ad on wall. For some reason, it is OK if our spaces are conquered by certain people, wearing certain clothes.Cartoon side view of man on phone in front of cyclist with helmet riding bicycle. Billboard advertising is a hostile invasion of public spaces by private interests. The advertisers use their ‘tags’ to enclose the commons.Side view of pedestrian with headphones walking along street underneath large billboard. What was once shared space becomes the canvas for one party to dominate. And to profit from.Dutch angle of cyclist trying to ride bike through crowd in pedestian mall, with billboard signs behind. Like the numbskull rolling into a camp ground with a ghetto blaster, …Cartoon of billboards with parody logos and brands in a city square. The contempt for the commons drips from billboard signs.Traffic jam with cars on a street underneath billboard ads lining the street. Billboard advertising for Heineken beer all the way down the street.Rear view of cartoon man riding bike down the street on sidewalk, with billboard ads on the walls on the nearby buildings. This is a takeover.Low angle view of pedestrians walking in city mall underneath huge bright billboards for Paddle Pop confectionary ice cream. Cartoon artwork about the takeover of public space by outdoor advertising industry.Low angle view of young man on bike riding across street beneath multiple billboard signs, and signs for stores. “Here we are now. You’ll just have to swallow it.”Cartoon drawing of a graffitied phone signal box near lamp post on downtown city street. Billboard advertising is all empty calories. It doesn’t even pretend to educate or inform us. The signs conspicuously lack useful information about the company's products or services. Usually it is little more than a logo and a slogan.Urban view of pedestrians waiting for crosswalk signal to change, near huge billboard sign on vacant city block. Billboards are space-fillers devoid of any intellectual nutrients.Cartoon of cars driving along freeway with multiple billboard signs all along the road, with many different brands and logos. It gets worse. Because of the billboard medium’s limitations ...The only companies that choose to place billboard ads are the well-known mega-brands. Would we really have forgotten about these brands if they hadn’t advertised here? Shot of parodies of popular brands advertising on billboard signs near a busy road.Shot of male cyclist riding into the distance, looking over his shoulder to the side. And so we learn nothing more about companies that we couldn't forget about if we tried.Photography low angle perspective of female pedestrian's legs walking down the street, with huge Coca-Cola billboard in the background behind her. The sole purpose of billboards is re-inking the corporate tattoo into our minds. Photography low angle perspective of female pedestrian's legs walking down the street, with huge Coca-Cola billboard in the background behind her. The sole purpose of billboards is re-inking the corporate tattoo into our minds.Photography low angle perspective of female pedestrian's legs walking down the street, with huge Coca-Cola billboard in the background behind her. The sole purpose of billboards is re-inking the corporate tattoo into our minds.

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This is the second in a series of comics titled Twenty-Five Arguments About Billboards that I will be progressively publishing during 2019 and 2020.

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