Na predaj, na predaj! (For sale, for sale).
One European country, small in size but big in diversity. We will, for example, guarantee that no matter where in the country you are set on advertising – even if it is a beauty spot – we will happily advertise your chosen product or business in enormous 10 metre-high signs that will make even the USA’s average billboards look miniscule by comparison. Everything is for sale here – even national parks! For example, we have national parks that are part-owned by major financial companies – ensuring that your desired advertising campaign penetrates into the very heart of the country. Don’t believe us? Then try driving into our capital city, Bratislava – where you will not fail to see these signs plastering every single major highway. We guarantee that you too will see that Slovakia IS for sale (particularly to international investors) – and that you will want to advertise with no one but us.
So might an advertisement attracting investors to Slovakia run. I have never seen a country so littered with huge billboards. The ads are big, too (the one advertising ING bank, on a low hill on the right as you’re coming on the main highway into Bratislava from the east is a personal favourite: that lion could probably be glimpsed from the Ukraine border).
Slovakia needs to watch out in this regard. We all know rampant advertising campaigns for everything from inane confectionery products to cars cover the globe, pretty much, but in Slovakia they mar the countryside in a way that detracts from the natural beauty far more than, say, the UK. Even the mid-west of the USA, which has some mighty large roadside advertisements, has nothing on Slovakia. Signs for supermarkets like Tesco’s tower to well over twice the height of the UK equivalent. Opening hours for the big stores have no restrictions either, even at weekends: meaning small independent stores find it much harder to compete.
There’s numerous points to make about this. But I’m going to focus, here and now, on one or two. It looks ugly, and it’s destroying how Slovakia looks and how it’s perceived. There needs to be some limitations imposed. Or Slovakia – and Slovak-owned businesses – will suffer: more.
February 2015: Here’s our favourite article of the moment on Slovakia’s “batman” who has initiated his own campaign against the monstrous billboards. Hooray!