Paris 2015

Climate activists 'brandalize' Paris ads


More than 600 artworks lampooning the corporate sponsors of the United Nations summit on climate change have been plastered across Paris' advertising spaces.

The guerilla campaign against the sponsors of the so-called COP21 summit, including Volkswagen, Mobile and Air France, was carried out on Black Friday by the campaign group called "Brandalism."

Several of the more-than 130 global heads of state attending the event have been targeted as well, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande, who has been criticized for banning public gatherings (and, with them, climate protests) amid France's 'state of emergency' following the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13.


Brandalism, which is known to have carried out subversive ad campaigns – or "subvertising"— in the U.K. before, said in a statement on its website that the 'Brandalism' project had worked with Parisians to insert unauthorized artworks across the city "that aim to highlight the links between advertising, consumerism, fossil fuel dependency and climate change."

It said it had placed the artworks in advertising spaces owned by JC Decaux -one of the world's largest outdoor advertising firms and an official sponsor to the COP21 climate talks. The ads will be uncomfortable viewing for the brands involved.


The COP21 talks are aimed at getting a global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and on keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Brandalism said the sponsors of the high-profile event were part of the problem rather than the solution, however.

"By sponsoring the climate talks, major polluters such as Air France and GDF-Suez (Engie) can promote themselves as part of the solution - when actually they are part of the problem," Joe Elan, co-head of Brandalism, said.

"We are taking their spaces back because we want to challenge the role advertising plays in promoting unsustainable consumerism. Because the advertising industry force feeds our desires for products created from fossil fuels, they are intimately connected to causing climate change," he continued.

"As is the case with the Climate talks and their corporate sponsored events, outdoor advertising ensures that those with the most amount of money are able to ensure that their voices get heard above all else."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld