While putting together the latest issue of Reprogramming Roundup, the RTC Newsletter, I was writing a brief summary of the Rio billboard designed to attract and kill Zika mosquitos, when it became clear that the thinking behind the project, and the fact that its design has now been released under Creative Commons license, deserved some additional attention with its own post.
Reprogramming the City has made its opinion well know that billboards and outdoor advertising structures are tragically underutilized assets that cities often regards as only being a source of revenue. We’ve shown in previous exhibitions how they can be used to capture and provide clean drinking water to residents of Lima, Peru, and be part of essential air cooling and cleaning over the motorways of Los Angeles.
The recent campaign by Rio-based agency NBS adds another dimension to the additional functionality that can be gained by using outdoor advertising structures in new ways.
The billboards utilize their structural composition, by luring mosquitos into the inner chamber by releasing an airborne concoction of lactic acid and carbon dioxide that mimics the composition of human sweat. Once the mosquitos enter the billboard’s central chamber, they are trapped and eventually die of dehydration. They then drop to the bottom and cleaners remove the dead bodies each day.
As said Andre Lima, creative vice president at NBS, told Campaign:
“Zika is a real problem here in Brazil … This idea reflects a lot of our beliefs in terms of what communication means in the contemporary world — that speech is not enough anymore. We need to do real things, not just talk about it.”
Detailed instructions and schematics for the billboard are freely available to the public under Creative Commons License. They can be viewed below and downloaded here, and additional details are available on the project website.
The unregulated distribution is “one of the most important ideas in this project,”Otto Frossard, planning director at partnering agency Posterscope Brasil told Campaign. “If anyone wants to create these billboards, we’re totally open to help.”
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