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Hijacked Billboards are Baaaaack

Google Streetview is the New Photosheet

2 1,279
Moscow, Russia

   New Hijacked Billboards are Back

It could be your OOH locations without your knowledge.


The Swedish branch of global advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, working with Stockholm-based agency Åkestam Holst, has been altering billboards in Google Street View so the Outdoor Advertising in the Google Streetview features quotes critical of world leaders. They call the project “Billboards Beyond Borders.”

Photoshopped images, uploaded to Streetview,.  What a clever idea!  Virtual hijacking of billboards!  The Agency uploads Photo-shopped images to Google maps and replaces what is on the billboard in a real street view, with their own message.

This is against Google’s rules.


This is very reminiscent of a common Outdoor Provider practice prior to the days of Google Street view, where Out of Home companies photo shopped their billboard locations’ photo sheets. One OOH company was more guilty of the practice than the other two.  It sure seemed like everyone was guilty of the practice, though not all were deliberately malicious. (What do you call them? photo sheets, location sheets, photo-liths, lithos, blurbs?).  This was done before the days of computers by taking paper and cutting to size, then gluing the blank over the face on the ‘location sheet.’  The copy machine or lithographic printing, would do the rest.  To the untrained eye, the ‘tampered’ photo sheets, provided an unfair advantage to the actual billboard’s true visibility.

To the untrained eye, the ‘tampered’ photo sheets, provided an unfair advantage to the actual billboard’s true visibility.

What was the photoshopped practice OOH companies followed?  A  location photo sheet, or blurb as we called them, would have the photo of the billboard altered.  Typically, the alteration consisted of  placing a yellow or white blank rectangle over the existing face in the photo of the photo blurb or sheet. The newly installed blank almost always was ‘slightly larger’ than the actual size, additionally covered trees and wires when necessary, falsely creating a better image than the billboard’s reality.  It seems this practice has slowed, if not completely stopped.  Or has it?

If anyone has a photo sheet which has had some …ahem… photoshopped work done on it, please send it over.  We’ll figure out how to block the imprint so as not to embarrass or call any on out.

Read the Google Streetview Billboard Alterations story AdWeek here⇒Tampering Billboard Images





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  1. Chris says

    Just an update… They violated Googles Map’s policies and all their virtual billboards have been removed and their campaign is over.

  2. Bill Board says

    Thank you for the update Chris Adams. That was a short lived campaign.

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