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To read about the BFA Conference in French, see RAP‘s website. For Italian, see Valori.

All photography by Rap

Following previous meetings held in Paris (2022) and Amsterdam (2023), Subvertisers International partnered once again with allied groups including Reclame Fossielvrij, Badvertising, Adfree Cities, and Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire (RAP) to organise a third meeting in March of 2024. This year’s conference, which had live interpretation between French and English for all plenary sessions, strategically took place in the European capital of Brussels, ahead of the June 2024 European elections. It was attended by more than 65 people from a dozen different countries, representing more than 20 different organisations. Attendees included politicians, activists, students, campaigners, ad busters, artists, and organisers.  

During this three day event, we shared a number of strategic-thinking sessions, theme-based workshops, action-based skillshares and creative actions, all interconnected by our shared desire to learn from each other and strengthen the European anti-ad network.

Highlights and takeaways 

  • With the upcoming Paris Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the Euro 2024 football championship, international collaborations were planned to highlight the problematic nature of sportswashing and fossil sponsorship, which are used by big polluters to improve their image in the eyes of similar events’ massive audiences. 
  • Taking place roughly a month before the International Week of Action against Airline Advertising, Sponsorship & Greenwash, the conference proved fertile breeding ground for internationally coordinated action plans, which will take place from April 15th to April 22nd of 2024. The conference was called a “turning point” for the Week of Action by one of its organizers.     
  • Several sessions revolved around the question of how to leverage the already-existing influence of people and institutions such as politicians, doctors, creative outlets, and consumer groups. As the general public may attribute more value to these familiar voices than to the words of activists, we worked on mapping our (potential) allies and opposition, and thought about how to collaborate most effectively. 
  • An overarching aim was to galvanise new connections made during the weekend by creating new collaborations. During Sunday’s implementation sessions, the topics of which were intentionally left undecided beforehand, we took stock of how to move forward as a movement, for example by sharing resources more effectively, creating shared communication channels, and coordinating local actions to create an international snowball effect around strategic topics. To this end, we collectively made a timeline showing different opportunities for actions in the coming year.

All in all, the weekend left us feeling inspired, motivated, proud and just a little bit tired.

Thank you to all those who were able to attend and make it special. 

In solidarity, 

Adfree Cities,
Reclame Fossielvrij,
Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire (RAP),
Subvertisers International