Satirical Ad Campaign Pitches Belgian Traffic Jams as World Heritage Sites

The "war on cars" and its pushback has a achieved a singular pitch in Belgium, where the national rail service has canvassed the country with a satirical ad campaign excoriating the country's horrible congestion.
January 23, 2016, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A national advertising campaign is in motion [in Belgium] to make a novel addition to the World Heritage List, a collection of humanity’s greatest cultural treasures that includes the Taj Mahal and the Acropolis," according to an article by Tom Fairless. The extremely tongue-in-cheek candidate proposed for this list of luminary examples of architecture: "the Belgian traffic jam."

Fairless provides data to describe the congestion issue in Belgium: "Belgium’s traffic holdups are truly monumental. The nation’s biggest cities, Brussels and Antwerp, were the most traffic-choked in Europe and North America in 2012, ahead of Los Angeles, according to U.S.-based traffic information firm INRIX."

It's those conditions that have prompted a commercial shown on national television, billboards, and petitions to declare that the country's traffic jams "An untamable beast…so magnificent, so overwhelming." Adds the campaign: "This great merger of rubber and metal, give it the chance it deserves!"

Now for the kicker—the campaign is funded by the country's national rail service, the SNCB, "which wants to lure the roughly two-thirds of Belgians who drive to work," writes Fairless.

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Published on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 in The Wall Street Journal
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