In 2006 the mayor of Brazil did something that would make the blood of most marketers run cold – he banned all outdoor advertising, saying that it was ‘visual pollution’ and needed to be stopped. Whilst businesses were initially tearing their hair out and predicting a massive loss of profits, creative marketers found a way around it. Lalai Luna of ad agency Remix told the Financial Times:
“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.”
In other words, the removal of the easiest way to get people’s attention meant that marketers had to try and capture the public’s attention in other ways. Of course what they did wasn’t new, but without the crutch of billboards the emphasis moved onto subtler ways of creating a lasting impression. But what impressions can be made without images?