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Anti-ad vigilantes target Melbourne trams

Friday, 01 September 2017
By Print21

An anti-consumer group is removing advertising posters from Melbourne’s trams and trains in protest against what it describes as the invasion of public space by ‘corporate entities interested only in generating profit.’

Tram Clean Australia has removed dozens of outdoor posters and adhesive vinyls from trams, tram stops and trains around Melbourne. 3AW says 23 posters have been removed at the Flinders and Elizabeth Street stop alone.

In their place,  group members leave a message: This ad has been deemed destructive and has been removed.

The action has caught the advertising industry flatfooted with neither the outdoor companies nor the industry association able to formulate an effective response. The vigilantes seem to be as much anti-advertising as anti-consumerism with equal disdain for the products being advertised as for the ads themselves.

A spokesperson for Adshel, one of outdoor companies whose advertising has been targeted, said it had “no comment at this stage.” The Outdoor Advertising Association is also yet to respond.

On its website, Tram Clean describes its campaign as a theatrical protest against for-profit advertising on public transport and in public space.

The group also launched an online petition at calling for the removal of all for-profit advertising from public transport and public space.


 The dominance of for-profit advertising on public transport and in public space silences the voices and interests of everyday people, for it is the voice of the non-human corporations that dominates the public sphere.

 The vehicles on which we ride to work, school and university are used as canvases for corporate entities so they can convince us to buy shit we don’t need. More concerning, is the fact that our children are constantly force fed the messages of corporations who are only concerned with increasing their own profits, not the welfare of our kids. We are told by consuming these products we will be more successful, beautiful, likeable, skinnier, healthier, more popular and generally better people.

We say this is BULLSHIT. We believe it is through better community engagement and co-operation that we can achieve a healthier society – not through individualistic consumerism.

At last count, 228 people had signed the petition.

3 Responses to “Anti-ad vigilantes target Melbourne trams”

  1. September 01, 2017 at 1:16 pm,


    Whilst they think their actions are noble and ‘save the planet’ style, aren’t they tampering with someone else’s property? So why aren’t the police involved? I know if some ragtag vigilante group interfered with my property/vehicles they’d have the police on the tails PDQ. Sadly, yet another modern day example of wackos free of conscience or consideration towards others.

  2. September 01, 2017 at 1:20 pm,


    In an ideal world, for-profit company will generate more money by advertising on public transports, and more money means more tax for the government to fund non-for-profit groups, build or maintain infrastructures to eventually benefit the local community.

    The problem is that, we are not living in an ideal world, which means some for-profit companies do not pay their tax honestly, and government does not always spend the money from tax-payers in the most effective and efficient way. I guess that’s what lead to the growth of so called ‘anti-customerism’?

  3. March 01, 2018 at 2:58 pm,


    Ironically, the group’s website is supported with online ads.

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