Tuesday 11 September 2007

The world's first living advert

Creative Concern (celebrating five years in business this year by the way) has launched a new concept that is set to change the face of billboard advertising, with an installation in Merseyside that replaces carbon-intensive materials with a living hedge of native willow trees. 

Here’s our press release about it: The Green Billboard is a sustainable advertising medium made entirely from willow trees with a range of environmental benefits conventional hoardings cannot offer – reduction of noise pollution, increase in tree coverage and a natural screen for unsightly developments.

And socially and economically a green billboard can also represent a long-term investment in the landscape with its fresh and unusual organic materials that make for a visual high point for local communities.

The first installation of the willow billboard is already in place and can be seen from the M53, situated on a new woodland development in Merseyside at Bidston Moss and follows months of meticulous planning by the ethical agency in partnership with Cheviot Trees and fellow design agency, Modern Designers.

Questioning the corporate responsibilities of the advertising industry to become more sustainable in their practices, Steve Connor, managing director of Creative Concern said:

“Our urban environments, which are predominately those areas where we see the biggest collections of hoarding are set to suffer a ‘heat island effect’ due to climate change. The green billboard goes some way to respond to this challenge as well as addresses the problems of air and traffic pollution by utilising trees as a natural filter.

“Finally green hoardings help bring a little bit of nature into the urban realm and offer an antidote to the modern architectural venacular of concrete and steel upon which any kind of advertising or art installation can be mounted.”

The natural medium offers the creative community a new challenge, too, according to Modern Designers' Mat Bend:

"For the Bidston Moss design, which celebrates the greening of the Northwest, we've created a billboard that literally allows the leaves of the trees to grow through it, fusing a dramatic and powerful message with the very same medium that is carrying it; green billboards have great potential for innovative design responses, particularly as part of regeneration schemes like this one."

Measuring 30m by 2.5m the only sustainable outdoor advertisement in this world was delivered on behalf of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the Forestry Commission (FC), and displays the partnership’s message ‘ One Tree Is Planted Every Ten Seconds In This Region’. The billboard has been established on a new community woodland area at Bidston Moss on the Wirral Peninsula, one of a number of derelict or under-used sites being reclaimed as part of the Northwest's £70 million Newlands programme.

By utilising hand-cut letters fixed onto the hoarding, the organic nature of the NWDA and FC’s advertisement will be able to evolve, allowing the branches of the growing willow to show through, becoming an integral part of the green billboard.

And unlike traditional outdoor advertising mediums, including digital and mobile street furniture, the green billboard offers a fresh and innovative communication channel that demonstrates real social and environmental commitment to their customers.

More photographs? Click here.

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