The dark side of fly-posting
Fly-posting has a shady reputation, existing on the margins of society with links to violence and intimidation. Much of this is due to incidents in the mid-1990s when the shooting of a fly-poster in Manchester and a machete attack on another in London raised the spectre of turf wars between rival gangs.
Fly-posting is fuelled by marketeers who see it as giving a product edginess and irreverence. A London advertising agency ran a promotional campaign for the Britart brand which sells ‘affordable, original art to ordinary people’. It described the central plank of its advertising strategy as ‘the use of fly-posting to promote Britart on street furniture, a truly public medium which anyone and everyone can find’.
No matter what measures are taken against advertisers or organised fly-posters, there will always be some fly-posting which is virtually impossible to prevent. It will appear suddenly, is usually subversive and sets out to challenge society. Anti-capitalist and anarchist groups are regular perpetrators.