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Niue: An Advertising Free Country

Niue: An Advertising Free Country

By Jeremy Rose

Niue is quite possibly the closest thing to an advertising free country on Earth.

The small Pacific nation's one television and one radio station are both ad free and advertising billboards are conspicuous by their absence.

A drive around the 67 kilometre road that encircles the island is a strange experience for visitors from the ad-saturated outside World. There are a handful of brightly coloured billboards but they're hand-painted public notices. Some of them works of art in their own right. But there's no Coca Cola signs, no adverts for ice-creams, no posters for Nike. Nothing.

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The country's one newspaper does carry ads but they're not the highly crafted, brand-driven adverts common elsewhere but public notices and straightforward ads for the handful of businesses active on the island.

I asked students at the island's one high school whether they thought the absence of advertising made them less materialistic than their cousins in New Zealand. They doubted it... most saying the main attraction of New Zealand is its shops.

But my feeling is, is it does have an impact. I'm sure kids in Niue would love to own an MP3 player or a pair of sports sneakers but I doubt they place the same importance on that MP3 player being an Ipod or the sneakers Nike.

There's definitely a PhD thesis waiting to be written by a keen media studies or sociology student on the impact that living a virtually ad free existence has on the Niue's 1200 plus inhabitants.



Jeremy Rose's visit to Niue was sponsored by the Pacific Co-operation Foundation.

Copyright Jeremy Rose. Email:

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