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Billboard Defacement aka Fun With Billboards


It is important to remove billboards. It is also important not to get caught (so we can remove more billboards). I have always felt that burning billboards (particularly in desert situations) is most effective. But it is somewhat “revealing” when a 50 foot high sign explodes in front of your very eyes, and those of who-knows who else, lighting up everything around for half a mile. But there’s a solution.

SCORE hair cream and swimming pool cleaner. I’m completely serious. My friend Oscar explained it to me. Now I will tell you. Here are the ingredients you will need:

1 envelope 1 tube SCORE hairdressing 1 canister HTH swimming pool cleaner (accept no substitutes).

Squirt about 1 and 1/2 inches of SCORE gel in one end of the envelope. In the other end, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of HTH (it’s granulated chlorine and will also clear your sinuses if you get too close) in the other end. Now, fold the envelope in the middle so the contents can’t mix…yet.

Go forth into the night and find a billboard that particularly deserves cremation. Liberally douse the posts with gasoline. Now, it is time for the envelope. Unfold it and let the HTH mix with the SCORE. In fact, mush it up real good with your fingers (on the OUTSIDE of the envelope, you idiot). Place the potent package at the base of the soaked post, get in your truck and drive away.

Four to five minutes later, about the time you’re saying, “Yes, a pitcher of Bud, please,” the envelope will start to smoke and hiss and produce a horrid, acrid aroma (air pollution) followed by intense heat and…Eureka!…spontaneous combustion. The flames race up the post spreading rapidly in the dry desert heat.

The next day you drive by and chuckle. But a word of warning: practice with this stuff first. It takes a while to get the right mixture. If it’s not just right, it may simply smoke alot. Remember, practice makes perfect.


Even more effective than felling, burning or spattering billboards is revising them. A group in Sydney, Australia, BUGA UP (Billboard Utilizing Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions) has turned the revision of billboards into a major campaign. The following material is taken (slightly revised) from their 1981 Spring Catalogue (you can write them at BUGA UP, Box 78, Wentworth Bldg, University of Sydney Union, 2006, Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA).

Billboard graffiti is so simple you can organize it around just about anything. Even if you only paint one billboard a week, you’ll be costing the corporate pushers between $500 and $5000 per year, depending on your thoroughness. It’s a sad fact, but we’ve learned through long experience that money is the only language billboard advertising companies understand. Nothing will get those ads down faster than if their profits are reduced by escalating maintenance costs.

But even more important than this financial factor is the effect that the revised ad will have on those who read it. First, select a billboard that you find offensive, stupid, or just convienent. It has to be easily accessable (ie: not on top of a building) and should make sense to change.

Purchase a common brand of spray paint that can be purchased through any number of retail stores or large discount houses. Shop at different places — spread your business around! For billboards, black and chrome are the most versatile colors, but red, blue, purple, and white are also effective on particular billboards.

Try to break down the power of the billboard ad by answering it, looking at the space available and the way in which the words and images lend themselves to addition, alteration or comment. Humor is extremely effective in exposing the advertiser’s real intentions — turning the ad’s message back on itself. (Be sure to avoid spelling mistakes!)

If the offending billboard proves too high to reach, you can either get a ladder (which isn’t particularly convenient) or build a spray can extension rod:

Obtain a broom handle or another solid strong but lightweight wooden pole. At one end, cut out a wedge, half the width of the pole. Fit a flat metal bar to the remaining wood. About one foot from this bar (or the height of your spray can), attach a support clamp on which the can will rest. Fit an angle bracket on each side of the pole, about 8 inches from the end. The spray can should fit between these brackets. Tie a length of plastic coated wire to the flat metal bar and feed it through a hole in the support clamp and screw eyes attached the length of the pole. This wire, when pulled, will press down the nozzle of the spray can and paint will spray out. An optional extra is the roll-top of a deodorant bottle, fitted to the support clamp. This will help maintain an even distance between the spray can and billboard. You may have to experiment a bit to get the right measurements to fit a can of spray paint. Although these spray paint can extension rods are clumsy to use at first, with practice they become very effective.

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