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Putting the pigeons to work

There's been a bit of controversy in Venice this year about advertising and the marketing of the city. Here's an article, Venice Mayor Backtracks on Coke Fizz Up that addresses the hubbub about a deal with Coke which would have allowed vending machines to be placed around the city. And every few years it seems, there's a depressing "Venice is Dying" article like this one (Venetians Fear for their Cultural Heritage) which addresses marketing and tourism as well as the declining population.

As I said in my post about the restoration sites (and the ugly ads on the scaffolding of many of those), I can see both sides of this issue. Venice needs the money and while yes, the ads are an eyesore, at least they're temporary.

But really, less-than-tasteful ads in Venice (and deals with Coca Cola) aren't a new thing. Here are a few examples where the pigeons were involved. :)

coke ad Venice


An ad from the 1950's. "AG" is/was an Italian insurance company.


I can't help but laugh at these, tacky as they are. Pretty clever marketing. Wonder how much these companies paid for the privilege of feeding the pigeons this way?

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Comments (12)


Funny! Maybe it's my morbid sense of humor or the fact that I have two people in advertising in the family (daughter and her SO) that I think it's pretty clever marketing too....I'm sure the Venetians don't tho! menehune


Tacky as the whole business is, these do have a certain cleverness to them. Just trying to get it together intrigues me.

Sure tacky, but it is funny. And it is pretty clever marketing.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, very interesting topic and I too can see both sides of the coin. I also thought those were clever marketing images too! :)

Thanks for the interesting post Annie. Have a great day today!


I LOVE the photos - tacky marketing or not!


Annie, at first I thought these were a joke! Especially spelling out Coca-Cola in pigeon. Can you imagine how much work that must have been!!

But better to have these little gimmicks to get a one-time magazine ad photo, than those gigantic ads on scaffolding!


Wow, that would take some patience surely, getting pigeons in place like that! I know they would have put food down, but still. Very interesting post, Annie, thanks!

Tacky but clever nonetheless.

The ads on the scaffolding don't bother me, they produce income and they are temporary. I can't remember a time when I haven't seen an ad in a scaffolding in Rome, Venice or Florence.

Those are cool photos! I wonder how long it took to set out the birdseed to get all the birds in the correct position. Tacky but clever :)


I can also see both sides of the coin, Annie. Those pictures are wild. Can't imagine how much timw was involved!

Thanks everyone. I too wonder about the logistics of putting this "show" together.

Girasoli, I wonder how they kept the pigeons away from the birdseed until they were ready to snap the photo. They must have had a crew, one to each letter, who spelled it out at the same time, maybe?


I'm trying to figure out how they kept the birds from pecking away at it while they laid it all out - the timing involved. Still, I think it's pretty funny.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 13, 2009 1:06 PM.

The previous post in this blog was The Heels Go to Washington.

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