Cover-up campaign: Action taken against Shoreditch digital ads

A digital ad in Shoreditch, Hackney

A digital ad in Shoreditch, Hackney - Credit: Adblock Hackney

Campaigners opposing digital ad screens in Shoreditch, took action last month by covering up the units with sheets of paper and asking passersby what they would like to see replace the electronic billboards. 

Adblock Hackney staged the action on March 25 as part of an international movement opposing fossil fuel advertising.

Using colourful pens provided Hackney residents filled the sheets of paper with their thoughts on how to improve the space where two LCD billboards currently stand. 

The public was asked what they would like to see replace the digital adverts

The public was asked what they would like to see replace the digital adverts - Credit: Adblock Hackney

Suggestions included art, book swaps, "a picture of my nan", compliments, poetry, jokes, dating advice, nothing, a seed bank, and trees.

Campaigners also asked the public how much electricity they think digital advertisements consume. 

According to the technical specifications in an application to renew advertising consent for a board in Shoreditch, a digital 84" display which includes two LG LCD screens consumes 28,56 kWh. 

Campaigners are pushing for Hackney Council to adopt an ethical advertising policy

Campaigners are pushing for Hackney Council to adopt an ethical advertising policy - Credit: Adblock Hackney

According to Ofgem, the average household in the UK has 2.4 people living in it and uses 8 kWh of electricity.

Most Read

Meaning one screen, uses as much energy as more than three average UK households every day.

However the specification also states that the screens are "the most power efficient in their class".

It adds that the digital modules are "long life and fully recyclable". 

A passer-by writes on the covered up billboard

A passer-by writes on the covered up billboard - Credit: Adblock Hackney

Campaigners have also collected signatures opposing applications to renew billboards in Shoreditch, while calling for the council to implement an ethical advertising policy. 

They want the council to remove energy-intensive digital screens and ban all advertising selling or dependent on fossil fuels.

The group plans to hold a meeting at the end of April.

A council spokesperson said the on-street advertising boards "provide a vital source of income".

They added: "The pandemic has proven that they are also an invaluable platform for important public health messages."

The council is currently working to carry out an assessment of its advertising sites. 

"As soon as this is completed," the spokesperson said. 

"We will make a decision on the future of the sites."

The council said it cannot comment on live planning applications.

To find out more visit adfreecities.org.uk/adblock-hackney

To sign the petition visit actionnetwork.org/petitions/no-to-9-new-digital-advertising-boards-in-shoreditch