Empty Billboards, Thessaloniki.


As we arrived in Thessaloniki, we begin an enquiry on the abandon of the billboards. Many reasons explain why there is a desertion of these communication medium.


The mass apparition and the anarchist plant of the billboards in private and public spaces begin in the 70′s during the explosion of mass media communication. No laws enforced the plant and the size of the boards, so advertising companies start to invade the highway’s border. The architecture of these billoards are totally different as the french ones, the shapes are diversify according to the location and its common to see rooftops of houses and firms full of advertising space.


In order to control the situation, Greek governement pass a law in 2001. Any request of installation of billboards must pass through an auditing committee and obtain agreement fron the city mayor. But the law doesn’t seem to be enforced like that as noticed by Manolis Andriotakis, a greek journalist from France 24, in an article on the subject: “The mayors get “dessous de table” from the advertising companies to obtain an agreement”. As noticed in his article, appart from the fact that it’s visual pollution, the billboards distract the drivers attention and become obstacle causing road accident. The municipalities start to prosecute the owners of illegal billboards but the abolitions take a lot of time.


The main reason of the unoccupied advertisng space seems to be the consequences of economic crisis. Since the begin of crisis in 2009, commercial activities slumped significantly and many companies who owned the billboards bankrupted, those who survived stopped to rent the space. Now nobody is ready to rent the location anymore, company are now focused on online advertising campain leaving vacant outdoor spaces.









1st november 2013.

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