An ad promoting the joys of not being subjected to advertising might seem a contrary notion, but this is the premise behind the new Sky Movies Billboards spot, which emphasises the lack of advertising breaks on Sky’s film channels.
The spot was filmed in São Paulo, which, as CR reported in our June issue, is currently enjoying a hiatus from billboard advertising after a “Clean City” directive from the city’s mayor, Gilberto Kassab, which banned all outdoor advertising, including shopfronts. As a result São Paulo was left with numerous empty billboard structures, which without their signage appear ghostly and oddly beautiful.
Creative Review’s article was illustrated with a series of epic photographs of the empty billboards by Tony de Marco. Home Corp, the production company behind the Sky advertisement, were already shooting the spot when the issue came out, but they were so impressed by De Marco’s shots that they approached him to advise on the shoot. The ad, which was created by Kit Dayaram and Tom Spicer at WCRS and directed by Sara Dunlop, pans across the city taking in the empty billboards, accompanied by Gene Wilder singing Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. It ends with the line “because you like movies with no interruptions, we took away the ads”.
It is uncertain how long the Clean City law will last in São Paulo, and the ads will begin to creep back in. For now though, De Marco prefers his city the way it is. “In the weeks before my birthday,” he says, “my visual enemies began to disappear like the happy end of a motion picture. To see my city clean was the best birthday present and my photos are the record of the feast.” More of his photographs can be viewed online at www.flickr.com/photos/tonydemarco.