Non-Profit Outdoor Advertising
in Latin America

Our two previous papers, Outdoor Advertising in Latin America Part 1 and Outdoor Advertising in Latin America Part 2 , were about commercial advertising. But not all advertising is done for crass profit motives. In this paper, we will show some instances of outdoor displays that were designed for other purposes.

  1. San Juan, Puerto Rico (photo credit: Deborah Levy)
    Following the colonial customs, the town squares in Latin America usually have statues of famous personages. Perhaps the most popular personage is Christopher Columbus, who 'discovered' America.

  2. La Paz, Bolivia (photo credit: Pablo Verdin)
    Here is a monument dedicated to Alexander von Humboldt, built with funds from the Centro Cultural Alemán/Deutsche Kulturgemeinschaft in La Paz. This sculpture is fairly elaborate and complicated. One potential hazard for public monuments is vandalism. In this case, there is some spray-painted graffiti on the sculpture.

  3. Asunción, Paraguay (photo credit: Pablo Verdin)
    The generic statue is the military person, usually riding a horse. There must be thousands and thousands of these statues across the continent, not all of them famous people either. By definition, a monument is a structure erected as a memorial. Unfortunately, most people have no idea about the people who are being commemorated.

  4. Lima, Peru (photo credit: Deborah Levy)
    Not all public monuments were intentionally designed as such. This is the famous commuter train system in Lima built with IMF funding. The project was never completed, as the funds disappeared mysteriously even as the officials fled the country. Ironically, the concrete supports are painted in the Peruvian national colors (red and white) today and allowed to stand idle. Unintentionally, this becomes a monument to public corruption and cynicism.

  5. Santiago, Chile (photo credit: Paul Donato)
    Personal and political opinions can be expressed publicly with just a paint brush and a few cans of paint. This is a painted wall mural in a residential neighborhood in Santiago, in memory of the former president Allende.

  6. Montevideo, Uruguay (photo credit: Pablo Verdin)
    Sometimes, even comic characters are recruited for political campaigns. But "Paren la reforma que me quiero bajar?" Given what we know about Mafalda, we are sure that she is not pleased by this malapropism.

  7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo credit: Pablo Verdin)
    Not all public displays are for commercial or political purposes, as some are directed towards the religious realm. The statue of Christ on the Corcovado Hill in Rio de Janeiro is probably the most famous and visible religious symbol in Latin America. In 1990, Globo TV Network and Shell Oil financed the needed restoration and maintenance for the statue.

  8. Mexico City, Mexico (photo credit: Roland Soong)
    Displays of religious piety do not have to be loudly ostentatious public affairs. Mexico is well-known for the colorful home altars that some residents erect outside their homes, often showing remarkable uniqueness and creativity.

  9. San Salvador, El Salvador (photo credit: Roland Soong)
    Some people regard public monuments as a complete waste of public funds. But look at this 40-foot mural at the crest of the Avenida Final Revolución in San Salvador. What can be wrong about celebrating the yearning of the spirit to be free?

  10. Buenos Aires, Argentina (photo credit: Roland Soong)
    This is a shot of the Obelisk at night.  This monument was built in 1936 in commemoration of  the 400th anniversary of the first founding of the city.  The shape obviously draws comments about the phallic symbolism, especially given that Argentina reportedly has the highest number of psychoanalyst per capita in the world.  


(posted by Roland Soong on 11/27/97)

(Return to Zona Latina's Home Page)