Ads on buildings

Katherine A. has also forwarded three photos she took last week in Venice.  I need some time to allow this to settle before writing.  I hope you’re as outraged as I am…

Above you see the church of San Simeone Piccolo, begun in 1718 by Giovanni Scalfarotto.  It is located on the Grand Canal just opposite the railroad station — therefore it greets you upon your arrival in the city, it is one of the first things you see in Venice, and is probably the first building to register in your mind upon exiting the station and entering the city.  You may recall the following image that I showed in class when we discussed 18th- and 19th-c. architecture in Venice.  Clearly, the church is in dire need of repair, but the new ads erase the structure and replace it with an icon to commercial greed.  Save Venice?

Here (above and below) you’re looking at the Bridge of Sighs…generally considered one of the most romantic and mournful sites in the city.  The bridge connects the Palazzo Ducale to the old prisons…both of which are obliterated under the ad showing sky and clouds.  You can walk through this bridge (as did prisoners of the Republic on their way to trial…or execution) on a tour of the Palazzo Ducale, and can also see it from the Molo or the Ponte della Puglia at the lagoon-side of the Palazzo Ducale.  I have no idea what this ad “sells.”  Is that good business?

6 thoughts on “Ads on buildings

  1. I understand that it is a massive undertaking to obtain the funding to support preservation of Venice’s structures. I also understand that the ads are temporary. However, is there a time frame for the ads to be removed, or will this one be taken down only to be replaced by another- and another after that? There are many holes in the information here, and I feel that these must be filled before anyone can begin to form opinions on it. We must also ask ourselves if this is the only way to raise funds. If so, is it worth destroying the historic character of a building (no matter how temporary such damage might be)? If it is not, then why is it there?

  2. Drew,

    Thanks for posting the Plakatiev Media website. Yes, indeed, some of their visuals are impressive and eye catching. They’re also BIG. And it’s their size that I find so horrific and obnoxious, particularly in Venice. I will gladly boycott whatever product they advertise.

    One of the delightful aspects of visiting Venice is discovering how intimate this city can be, and how inevitable it is to experience Venice as a small, enclosed environment. The Plakativ ads slam the city with such a brutality of force I literally reel back as if I have been physically struck. There is nothing here that speaks to “Venice,” rather GREED is foremost presented. And as a friend of mine commented to me today, “Greed isn’t cool right now.”

    One of the links on the Plakativ Media site shows their ad for Rolex on Sansovino’s Library facade on the Piazetta with the caption “New Banner Location in St. Mark’s Square VENICE.” Clearly, Venice is making money for Plakativ Media…and the city suffers for this.

  3. I find placing advertisements such as the one depicted on the San Simeone Piccolo outrageous and utterly repulsive. While Drew makes a good point about financing important conservation projects, there has to be a balance between funding and defacing the buildings you are trying to protect.

    While the advertisements may be temporary, I fear that Pandora’s Box has been opened. Drew is right, what company will need top billing to help with the next renovation/conservation project. Will Venice become Italy’s Las Vegas?

    Maybe we should look at selling advertising space on our public building. What do you think about a Viagra ad on the Washington Monument? I see very little difference here. I am shocked that the Venetians are not as outraged as I am!

  4. Dr. Och,

    I can’t agree more! The thing I loved most about Venice was getting lost in the meandering streets and bridges. I found Venice both cozy and intimate. It looks like greed is catching on in Venice. I find it quite sad and pathetic that a company would on the one hand want to help in the restoration efforts of historic monuments and in the next waste money on oversized ostentatious ads that detract from the very edifice they are hoping to save. Perhaps something at the bottom of the trompe l’oeil would have been more appropriate. I for one would never buy the advertised product!

  5. I have never traveled to Venice, but I do have a great appretiation of art and the mark it makes on history, however I find that if art of the ads takes away from the history of art and its beauty then it is horrific. I agree on the fact advertisement is necessary and that people need to be able to see it, but if its going to take away from the beautiful architecture that has been placed in Venice for years then why do it?

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