The subverting billboards of climate activists call Toyota and BMW


Climate activists from three different social awareness groups have come together to put up over 400 irreverent billboards across Europe, using subverting tactics to expose automakers like Toyota and BMW to promote zero-carbon BEVs while working to keep internal combustion vehicles on the road for decades to come. The goal of these billboards is not only to expose the hard truth, but also to call on local governments to act to ban ads promoting internal combustion engine vehicles.

Brandalism is a UK-based artist and activist collective formed per its website manifestShe dreams of a world “devoid of mad empires, fabricated fears, paranoid dreams and plundered lands”. Declaring that they will speak the truth against oppression and injustice, the group has campaigned against social issues like body image, visceral “ad pollution” and, of course, environmental issues like climate change.

The group announced earlier this week the following tweet threadoutlines a subverting campaign aimed at exposing older automakers like Toyota for misleading advertising that are pro-BEV, despite public lobbying against it anti-climate policy.

We have called Toyota several times for this behavior and were happy to see activists from Brandalism Subvertisers’ Internationaland Extinction Rebellion join forces to install over 400 parody billboards in 14 different European cities.

These activists and artists deserve recognition for their work, so we highly recommend reading the entire Twitter thread and visiting each organization’s website to learn more about how to join the fight against climate change and social injustice. In the meantime, here are some examples of their subvertising expertise across Europe.

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In a recent article Posted by Brandalism A spokesperson for the collective named Tona Merriman spoke about the reasons behind the subversion campaign and spoke about the greenwashing tactics of Toyota and BMW and why there is no longer a place in European society for this type of advertising campaign:

Toyota has been pushing its “Beyond Zero” sustainability ads while lobbying governments around the world to weaken air quality plans and threaten legal action to protect its livable climate gains. Your ads are double. Toyota and BMW are using sophisticated marketing campaigns to advertise oversized SUV models that are clogging up city districts. Electric SUVs are not a solution – they are too large for most parking spaces, and their large bumper size and excessive weight pose an increased risk to pedestrians, especially children, involved in road collisions.

With Europe and the UK already having an expiry date for gas and diesel vehicles from 2030, activists are calling for an immediate end to advertising for all combustion vehicles. This goal is similar to the tobacco legislation enacted in the 1990s, which ended the advertising of potentially deadly smoking products.

The subverting ads shouted Toyota and BMW have been installed at bus stops, on billboards and on Tube billboards in London, Berlin, Stuttgart, Paris, Nantes, Brussels, Ghent, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Norwich, Brighton, Exeter and Reading.

Cover Photo: Art by @Fokawolf

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