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French city Grenoble bans advertising in favour of trees

© Ville de Grenoble | This JCDecaux advertising panel in Grenoble will be replaced by a tree

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2014-11-24

The French Alpine city of Grenoble has decided to pull its advertising panels and to replace them with trees.

The city, which has a Green Party mayor, announced on Monday it would not renew its contract with France-based global advertising giant JCDecaux, whose panels are omnipresent in French urban areas.

Grenoble is the first European city to renounce the revenue from billboards in public spaces – Grenoble earned some 645,000 euros in 2014 – in favour of making the city a greener space for residents.

According to the city, a renewed contract with JC Decaux would have reaped just 150,000 euros in 2015 as the advertiser moved to digital rather than fixed panels.

“It’s time to move forward in making Grenoble a more gentle and creative city,” said the city’s Green Party Mayor Eric Piolle, who campaigned for office in early 2014 with a promise to remove advertising from Grenoble.

“We want a city which is less aggressive and less stressful to live in, that can carve out its own identity. Freeing Grenoble of advertising billboards is a step in this direction.”

Between January and April 2015, some 326 advertising panels will be taken down as JCDecaux’s contract comes to an end.

Some panels will remain until 2019, notably at bus stations, until a separate contract with JCDecaux ends in 2019.

The removed billboards will be replaced by trees and by free community notice boards.

JCDecaux’s marketing director Albert Asseras told FRANCE 24 he “regretted” the decision taken by Grenoble city council.

“We don’t just sell advertising, we also provide services,” he said, referring to the JCDecaux business model that in Paris sponsors the “Velib” bike-sharing scheme. In Grenoble, the deal was to give half the advertising billboards for the city’s own communications.

“Grenoble’s decision to close the city to advertisers is regrettable.”

 

Date created : 2014-11-24

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