I blogged a few months ago about Sao Paulo’s decision to ban billboards, in the context of the Culture Jammers’ campaign against what it calls the “mental pollution” of advertising. But it’s one thing to read about a different future, and another to see it. Now Advertising Lab has pointed me towards two videos – one fact, one fiction.

The documentary version is a slide show of Sao Paulo after the ban.

And the fictional version was made by Sky to support its current Sky Movies campaign (“because you like your movies without interruptions we’ve already taken out the ads”). Not enough time tonight to reflect on the potential difficulties associated with this for a broadcaster which is partially funded by advertising, and also spends heavily on advertising to support its marketing and promotion.

Obviously the Sky promotion has better production values (a director has been hard at work directing) and the music is more carefully chosen. And Sao Paulo is a little more untidy than Sky’s visualisation. But in terms of the streetscape, there’s not that much difference.

However, both these pictures seem incomplete; without the outdoor advertising, the streets are fairly drab. In the medium to long term, this seems unlikely. What’s more likely to happen is that the streets will regain colour – but with images which come from a public culture rather than from private desires.

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