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Subvertising strikes in city centre

By martin booth, Thursday Jul 11, 2019

At first glance, it is just a normal advert for Shell on a Metrobus stop.

Look more closely, however, and all is not what it seems – with illustrations of seabirds covered in oil, solar-powered tanks and bleeding whales.

The advert on Bond Street is an example of subvertising, where advertising spots are taken over by protest art.

In Bristol, the billboards along Bath Road are often doctored with new slogans.

This example from Bristol Rising Tide is more subtle, with a key used to gain access to the poster spot and the former corporate message swapped for the artwork by Darren Cullen.

‘We’re fueling the switch to green energy’ says the new artwork, with the Shell logo on fire next to it.

The word Shell has been replaced by ‘Hell’ at the bottom of the piece, which also includes the hashtag #burnthefuture.

The protest art has appeared at a bus stop on Bond Street

Subvertising 3

Next to six illustrations are the words: ‘Converting whaling ships to run on bio-fuel’, ‘Seabird oil recovery technology’, ‘Solar panel oil drums’, ‘Solar tanks’, ‘Converting submerged wind farms to tidal turbines’ and ‘A tribute to Martin Luther King Jr’ (‘we’re funding efforts to restrict deforestation in the Amazon to the specific areas which will form the shape of Martin Luther King Jr’s face when seen from orbit’).

Read more: St Werburgh’s billboard showcases art not ads

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