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Graffiti Advertising

What is graffiti advertising?

Graffiti advertising is usually dismissed as an illegal form of guerrilla marketing. However, this need not be the case. Legal graffiti advertising is unique, eye-catching, and can be an excellent way of enabling your outdoor advertising campaign to connect with your audience.

Graffiti advertising is images and artwork placed on leased wall or billboard space.

How does it work?

Legal graffiti advertising works through leasing wall space and integrating the company logo and brand message or image into images from the graffiti artist.

Although the wall space is leased in a similar way to billboard advertising, the differences are substantial:

  • Skilled graffiti artists create the ads
  • The ads are spray-painted onto the advertising space
  • Graffiti advertising venues often evolve into venues for events

Who’s it best for?

Two product categories that frequently use graffiti marketing are consumer products and entertainment, in particular those targeted at a youthful market.

Typically graffiti marketing will also be used when there is some kind of connection between the product being promoted and graffiti culture in general. This form of advertising can then be used to bring the two together, and can be especially effective when local graffiti artists are invited to create the advertisements.

Graffiti advertising is often considered to be extremely cheap but this isn’t actually the case. Legal graffiti advertising involves leasing advertising space which can cost thousands of pounds, as well as creating awareness amongst graffiti artists and organising any complementary events.

As for accountability, this is vital for any form of advertising these days and graffiti advertising is no different. As Adam Salacuse, CEO of Alt Terrain, says:

“You can use street traffic. However, you also want to measure the engagement factor. How many saw the mural being created. How long they were hanging out. If done right, there is also a word of mouth factor.”

Two Case Studies – a case of understanding graffiti culture

Sony PSP

Sony took the decision to attempt to give their new games console credibility with the younger market through hiring graffiti artists to draw wide-eyed children playing with their latest game console.

However, this attempt to pass off advertising as graffiti was a disaster. They were considered stealth ads by the graffiti culture community, resulting in an online backlash and many of the ads being defaced with tag lines such as “Corporate vandals not welcome.”

Disney – Mickey Mouse

In an attempt to bring Mickey Mouse back into popular culture Disney turned to graffiti advertising. They invited graffiti artists to spray-paint images of what they liked, with many picking old black and white movie images.

The campaign was an overwhelming success. The advertising received many favourable comments with many unsure whether it was advertising or not.

These two examples illustrate one key aspect to remember when implementing a graffiti advertising campaign. Sony told graffiti artists what to do whereas Disney gave them a free license to design what they wanted. This form of advertising is more about involvement than control, and if accepted by graffiti culture it’s likely to be highly successful.

Related Articles:

Ambient Advertising – Unusual Out-of-the-Home Advertising
Astroturfing – Often Used To Influence Governments
Balloon Advertising – Using Blimps, Inflatables & Balloons
Bluetooth Marketing – An Alternative Form of Mobile Marketing
Guerrilla Marketing – Unconventional Promotional Activities
SMS Marketing – Often Called Mobile Marketing
Word of Mouth Marketing – Encouraging Happy Customers To Talk About You

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