In a New York Times article about the city of Sao Paulo's decision to do away with outdoor advertising, our hearts leapt at the sentiment predicting this would make Sao Paulo "like New York without Times Square." Of course, the sentiment came from an ad man, complaining about "a diminishing of urban life" in ad-free city. Still, only 1 of 46 city councilors voted against the ad-killing measure:
"I think this city is going to become a sadder, duller place," said Dalton Silvano, who cast the sole dissenting vote and is in the advertising business. "Advertising is both an art form and, when you're in your car or alone on foot, a form of entertainment that helps relieve solitude and boredom."
We sincerely wish we had a staff artist who could create one of those utopian architectural renderings that might illustrate New York without the giant billboards of Times Square, or even better, without Times Square entirely. It doesn't have to be replaced by a bucolic greenspace or outdoor market or strolling plaza or other such hippie crap. And Times Square "relieves solitude" quite well already, even without the animated Applebee's billboard.