National Icon or Perfect Billboard?

 In Branding and Marketing, Food for Thought

Innovative ways to advertise pop up everyday. We are bombarded at every angle, most of the time without knowing. We have come to accept this as the society that we live in. But, can this go too far?

The Sydney Opera House has long been the most distinctly recognised symbol of Australia. A tourist hot-spot, a cultural symbol and a significant piece of 20th century architectural history. And now, a billboard?

The pressure-ridden proposition by 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones for The Everest Cup horse race to be advertised on the sails of this Australian icon has recently been accepted by the NSW premier. A bold decision that has created immense uproar.

Racing NSW

Luckily in this instance the immediacy of social media allowed a petition to gain 44,000 signatures in just two days. Now with over a quarter of a million signatures, it is a race against time to see if this will convince those involved to turn back on their decision to embarrass the nation tonight.

“A building that changed the image of an entire country”

Frank Gehry

One simple quote from a world-renowned architect perfectly sums up the importance of the Opera House as an Australian landmark. More than just a building, this is a defining factor of Australia. Plastering it with commercial advertisement will see it lose character and cultural history.

The youngest cultural landmark to be included on the World Heritage List, this is no achievement to be taken lightly. Listed alongside international treasures such as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, which one could never even imagine as advertising platforms.

With the countless available advertising methods available for commercial use, why choose to weaken our nation’s cultural image?

Even the team behind Betoota Advocate had a go at mocking this national debate.

The ABC’S Chaser team also mocked this national insult by projecting “Advertise here. Call Alan.” across multiple Sydney landmarks such as the Art Gallery of NSW and Parliament House.

Whilst advertising plays a huge role in modern day society, there should still be evident boundaries to keep the likes of cultural and architectural landmarks free from commercialisation.

And after all, the Sydney Opera House is a symbol that iconically presents Australia’s cultural identity to the world. What’s more important; this or a horse race?

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