Imagine There’s No Poluicao Visual – It Won’t Be Easy But We Must Try

drops14_04_01Brazilians are reportedly sick of pervasive advertising – both onland and online.  Brazilian Section Chief for Planning and the Environment, Walter Ambrosio da Silva, defines noise and visual pollution as “everything that attacks your sensitivities and influences our minds.”  Feeling bombarded by constant messages is certainly not unique to Brazil but many there  routinely vocalize their opposition to it.

It is everywhere, according to blogger Loren Baker, who describes the landscape this way:  “Outdoor billboards, political radio infomercials, ads painted on walls, cars driving around with loud speakers on top, people selling water or Silvio Santos Tele Sena lotto tickets clapping their hands at the gate outside of the house.”  Due to this visual pollution or Poluicao Visual,  it is no surprise that one reason Orkut remains so popular is because it currently features no advertising.


Brazilians are remarkably community-oriented and self-identify as members of Tribalistas or  or tribos.  They also have the second highest percent reach – 87% – in the social networking category, lagging just behind Canada. One study found that one year ago, “Member Communities” accounted for one in every 15 online minutes globally. The online communities in Brazil account for almost one in every 4 minutes and they are strongly averse to marketers.

It is no wonder then that creative social marketers in Brazil are stepping up to try and address this growing problem and find new ways online to reach this over-saturated audience. Gilberto Junior, avatar_sombrancelhathe Sao Paulo-based co-founder of Amanaiê,  started Socialsmart and Startupi – a company and blog devoted to Web startups in Brazil, puts it this way: “We address the problem of the lack of relevance in display advertising. We believe advertising can be more engaging and it can be where people already are, instead of trying to take them out of there and lead them to some kind of advertising Web site. Advertising should be viral and spread out spontaneously. Amanaiê, in just 10 months, is already the leader at the social ads market in Brazil. Digital advertising is changing. Digital display ads are working less and [becoming] less relevant over time. The new digital media is that one that engages the costumer. The advertising that is so relevant that the user wants to install it on their public personal profile on a social network.”  The notion of Brazil’s tribalistas embracing brands on their Orkut profiles may be no different than online adoption of popular cause-related campaigns like RED, but as we study the conservation and ecotourism movements in Brazil this week, it is thought provoking to consider a world where all advertising “engages consumers spontaneously” where they are. 

Bob GarfieldHere in the U.S., Bob Garfield with Advertising Age and author of Chaos Scenario 2.0, has also been talking about the end of advertising as we know it for quite some time in his Chronicles of the Media Revolution series.  In 2007, he suggested that we should begin to envision a world largely without brand advertising.  He predicted that “it’s a world in which Canadian trees are left standing and broadcast towers aren’t. It’s a world in which consumer engagement occurs without consumer interruption, in which listening trumps dictating.  It is a world, to be specific, in which marketing – and even branding – are conducted without much reliance on the 30-sencond spot or glossy spread. Because nobody is much interested in seeing them and because soon they will be largely unnecessary.”  

All this has me thinking about that new world, free of unslightly blight with smarter, more effective marketing and people feeling less under siege by constant Poluicao Visual.  It will be like that proverbial day at the beach without the obligatory plane cruising the skyline with an ad trailing behind it for Ladies Night at the local watering hole. Imagine it.  If Gilberto Junior and Bob Garfield are right – and most agree they are – it won’t be easy but we must try.

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4 Responses to Imagine There’s No Poluicao Visual – It Won’t Be Easy But We Must Try

  1. sroneill says:

    Thanks for the great article. Very interesting points. Also, to add, this will perhaps make the world a “greener” place? Think of all the trees we will save; not to mention gas we will preserve from those banner ad planes!

  2. I like your choice to focus on this concept of “Poluicao Visual” and you do a good job of taking us through why this is such a large issue in Brazil. Though I wished for some link references in your first paragraph to see where the facts where coming from, you do have a nice quote to illustrate your point in the beginning. The one missing piece is more thinking from you on what type of marketing and advertising could be done in this sort of environment without people feeling that it was “poluicau visual.” (3)

  3. Heather Lovett says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I am anxious to see what marketers will do to address the issue of advertising overload… which I believe is not solely plaguing Brazil.

  4. Misha Hutchison says:

    I liked your post and the idea of ads saturating our world. It reminds me of standing in the National Mall on inauguration day in a see of tens of thousand of people and looking up at the snipers on top of the various buildings pointing guns into the crowd, and thinking…the sniper is the marketer aiming their “marketing pitches” at us…the sea of consumers.

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