NEWS

Advertisers often give space to politicians who then protect them

How much does it cost to advertise in an outdoor area? Who chooses this kind of advertising and why? To answer these questions, Kathimerini spoke to well-known people in the advertising world, who asked to remain anonymous. According to the advertising sources, billboards and other outdoor advertising are especially attractive for those businesses who have no other substantive ways to promote their wares. These businesses include the tobacco industry, which has not been able to advertise in the print and electronic media here since last June. Others include those selling automobiles, clothes and alcohol (especially seasonal drinks) as well as companies advertising clubs, movies, banks and cell phones. Banks and cell phone companies often rent advertising space annually or on a five-year basis. Why is outdoor advertising so attractive? A well-known advertiser told Kathimerini it’s because this kind of advertising allows a business to target a selected region, city or neighborhood. Also, adds the source, «it’s on the road, so most of the people with money see it. Also, it’s considered to offer a very good result, so the cost is small compared to the public you can reach.» And who wins big from outdoor advertising? Those advertising, of course, as well as those renting space. Also benefiting are municipalities and workers who get paid to put up and take down billboards. How does the city tolerate the illegality of outdoor advertisements and even allow them to flourish? That’s an open secret, says the source. Advertisers often go to the major political parties before an election and offer them free advertising space for their candidates. Later, the politicians return the favor by tolerating their illegality in outdoor advertising. The source added that some advertisers even bribe people in key positions.