#AdBrake Car Subverts // 2020
#AdBrake – Car Subvertising
Across the UK, the car remains king. In our streets, our neighbourhoods, government transport budgets and urban architectures – the primacy of individualised car ownership has become culturally dominant. Our cities are left with soaring air pollution, inadequate public transport, congested streets and rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Motor advertising plays a central role in re-enforcing the status symbol of the car. In 2020, Brandalism collaborated with artists, clean air campaigners and newly emerging ‘Adblock’ groups to create poster artworks that parodied car brands and car advertising; and that discussed themes of car culture, air pollution, urban space, class, climate justice, public health and sustainable transport alternatives.
The posters were printed and installed by Brandalism crews in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and London.
The motor industry is the 7th largest sector using outdoor advertising sites (e.g billboards) in the UK and air pollution is now being recognised as a public health crisis. The absurd situation of car companies using billboards to promote new cars to motorists stuck in traffic jams is now playing out in many highly-polluted European cities.
Car ads re-enforce the status symbol of car ownership, the dominance of car culture and the allocation of transport budgets towards road-building (£30 billion in the 2018 UK government budget) — at a time when a significant modal shift to sustainable transport is urgently needed.
Car advertising posters are often highly misleading. Adverts regularly feature cars driving along the beach, or remote mountain roads when the reality for many urban communities is cars clogging our streets and choking our air. We also wanted to highlight that a switch to Electric Vehicles does not solve all the problems associated with car culture – a reduction in traffic volumes is still required.