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B.U.G.A. U.P

B.U.G.A. U.P

B.U.G.A.U.P. or Billboard Utilising Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions, was an Australian artistic group that “adapted” billboard advertising to promote something they deemed unhealthy.

The attack squad targeted Cigarette advertising. They blanked out letters and added others to promote their view that the product is unhealthy.

An example of this is that they sprayed “Horses smell better” on a bill poster for Marlboro cigarettes. Another good example is the following photo …

The group started in inner-city Sydney in October 1979 and the early-mid 1980s was considered their most active period. They continued until 1994, when tobacco advertising billboards were banned in New South Wales.

Many Graffitists came from professional and university-educated backgrounds.

B.U.G.A.U.P.’s motive was to bring to the public’s notice the legalised drug-pushing that was occurring in a big way back then.

Nothing was sacred. B.U.G.A. U.P. targeted many companies …

Benson and Hedges





Peter Jacksons

… And, there are many more.

I decided to do this story as I have never heard of this group before a little while ago.

I attended an exhibit, held at the Newcastle Regional Museum, called …

DRUGS: A Social History
Date: 1 January - 18 March 2007
Venue: Newcastle Regional Museum, Cnr Hunter & Wood Sts

“Australians have long been identified as enthusiastic users of all types of drugs. In this exhibition, curator Inara Walden and Paul Dillon from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre examine our society's love-hate relationship with drugs and challenge exisiting views about drugs.” (

I found the exhibit an eye-opener and I urge any young person to see it.

I learnt new things about the intricate relationship between our Society and our “Drug-dependance”, and the propaganda associated with these issues.

Did you know Heroin was developed by a pharmaceutical company and widely used in the Medical Community … but, perhaps this is a topic for another article!

Back to the story at hand ...

B.U.G.A. U.P.

The founding members of B.U.G.A. U.P.--> --> -->

The success of the campaign, and the public support it received, was largely a result of BUGA UP being able to cleverly take-the-piss, while highlighting the dangers of these products.


Posted by: lab_rat, 17 Feb 2007

This story has been viewed 5251 times since published on 16 Mar 2011

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