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. :)
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?