Aussies fume as 'corporate graffiti' appears on footpath: 'I hate it'

A Sydney council has since weighed in, vowing to immediately remove the Powerade ads.

An Aussie council has vowed to remove "sneaky" corporate marketing that was water-blasted without permission onto a busy inner city walkway, promoting the sports drink Powerade.

When it comes to advertising space, it seems pretty much anywhere that'll capture people's attention is considered fair game by marketers — with ads appearing atop sky scrapers, at bus stops, on street posts and even on our footpaths.

With people nowadays constantly looking down at devices while walking, some say it's only natural to capitalise on that, but after a series of stencilled ads appeared on a Sydney street, others disagreed.

The Powerade ad on a Lilyfield footpath.
A Powerade ad water-blasted onto a Sydney footpath without council permission. Source: Reddit

Council vows to remove all ads

In Lilyfield, in the city's Inner West, between "six to eight ads and slogans" for Powerade appeared within a 20 metre stretch on Perry Street — a bustling suburban thoroughfare.

When questioned by Yahoo News Australia over the process involved when it comes to promotional campaigns on public walkways, Inner West Council revealed Powerade — owned by The Coca-Cola Company — had in fact not sought permission.

"There is not currently a permit application process in place for seeking to ‘paint’ advertisements on Council footpaths, as Council does not permit the activity," a spokesperson told Yahoo.

"This is classified as advertising and Council will be removing them."

The Lilyfield path with the ad saying 'Powerade Active Water'.
No council permission had been sought for the Powerade ad. Source: Reddit

Locals speak out against 'eyesore'

While some locals may not have even noticed the stencilling appear on the sidewalk, others had a lot to say, many of whom revealed they were less than impressed.

Specifically, some people took issue with the fact the markings were an eyesore, while others said it represented the larger issue, which was described as the fact that Sydney had become "a corporate cesspit".

"I'd be pissed if this was on the footpath out the front of my place. I have to maintain the verge and trim the edge along the footpath. F*****d if I'm going to do that for someone's advertisement," one person said on social media. "Innovative advertising. I hate it," said another. A third described the ads as "corporate graffiti".

While advertisements in places like roads and on streets are nothing new, with some experts claiming the move specifically "targets younger audiences" due to the fact they seem "graffiti-like", the practice actually dates back decades and according to some research, even centuries.

In Sydney, the writing of any kind on footpaths — "whether it's paid for or one-offs" — was very broadly used in the Depression in the 1930s all the way until the 1950s, The Sydney Morning Herald previously reported.

The Coca-Cola Company has been contacted by Yahoo News Australia with regards to the ads.

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