Wall Advertisements: Beautification of the City at its Worst!
Stuck at the Baloch Colony flyover today, trying to avoid the beggars who kept knocking at my window asking for money… my eyes decided to examine the surroundings of the bridge I was stranded at. And what did I see? Advertisements, advertisements and more advertisements. Be it on the electricity pole next to my window or the hoarding angled at every corner at my elevated view, advertisements surrounded me. If the sky view wasn’t enough, even the wall dividing the two way bridge traffic was chalked with advertisements.
So here I am, writing a piece on the wall advertisements that we are bound to see on every empty wall in Karachi; residential inclusive. Is this an effective means of communicating your message, it sure is a cost efficient way with no ‘wall’ tax being imposed yet. I strongly believe that our walls can literally be used to beautify the city with advertisements not just scribbled but creatively written with coloured paints rather than plain black. Wall divisions clearly marked to avoid over-writing/scribbling and portions made for the advertisers based on the space they have occupied. It can’t be that difficult to strategize?
Top users of the wall for advertisements are our political parties. They don’t need newspapers to spend huge amounts for their events. All they need to do is, select a wall and paint in their invitation for any seminar, conference or jalsa! Moreover, they even announce important party event dates via their wall paintings. Second to these political parties in the effective users of the wall are the Palmists and the Aalims or those who provide social services of bridging the gap between people and their problems. These are extremely common. No matter where you are going, you are bound to come across an advert which talks about some highly spiritual guy who is available to solve your issues, whatever they may be, work related, family related (daughter not getting married, divorce related, child birth issues, to name just a few) or even related to your personal life. With problems come solutions and with solutions comes your peace of mind. What do you need to relax? A nice trip to some farm. Indeed, “farm resorts available for rent” advertisements are next in line. Al-Jannat farm is an example.
A personal experience I’d like to narrate here. One of my extended family members was impressed by the Jannat farm advert and suggested to plan a picnic to the farm. Since our busy schedules do not let families reunite every month, so it was decided that Al-Jannat farm will be our reuniting point and so we all went. Our group of 30 + people entered Paradise (Jannat) and were utterly disappointed. This Paradise was indeed Hell on earth. The pool had frogs as our fellow swimming companies and the rooms had all sorts of insects sharing the beds with us. Our experience of falling for the wall advert was surely worth erasing from our memories.
I just have a few open ended questions for all marketers and observers to answer.
- Can there be any expectations from the wall advertisements?
- Is there a possibility of a wall tax in the near future?
- Is there a way to eradicate them completely?
- Can we have a Karachi/Pakistan Graffiti Association that takes up responsibility of the entire city and paints all the walls with creative artwork?
- Can we ban all political parties from posting their invites on the walls?