Hands Off Our Skylines

HANDS OFF OUR SKYLINES! Hey marketers, keep your hands off city skylines. New proposals to flash short laser images on patches of urban sky are invasive.  

If you travel, you know that the look of the natural sky is one of the things that marks different regions of the planet apart.

Skyline laser advertising will clutter this natural wonder. 

Arguably too much of our lives is already cluttered with the jarring impact of corporate messages and interests. 

Skyline laser advertisements would corporatise a central part of our natural environment.

British newspapers today feature headlines about large internet traders who avoid taxes levied upon smaller high street stores. Presumably, the gulf separating big business and SMEs will grow even larger if the former start effectively colonising urban skyscapes. 

These short-burst laser ads would also pose great safety risks for drivers and pedestrians, providing significant opportunities for distraction on urban streets. 

I have a soft spot for marketing people. I've spent some memorable hours - for me - speaking to them in keynotes and being interviewed by them for client projects and publications.

I love the way the best marketing companies - some of them quite small - research social change and seek to respond to it in the best interests of both their clients and the wider society.

I have no doubt that some creditable marketers will also object to skyline advertising.

The proposed use of lasers in this way represents an example of technological ultra-pragmatism, which says that if a thing can be done it should be done.

This type of thinking raises profound ethics questions and should not be given a free pass in the interests of quick corporate profits. 

Imagine the furore if marketers suggested blazing short ads in laser print across rolling pastures alongside highways, or on the roads themselves. 

The sky is a natural heritage. Let's not corporatise it. 


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