Brands are utilizing graffiti in their campaigns. Often it’s a matter of understanding graffiti culture…..or not.
Brands either get it right or get it entirely wrong when they attempt to assimilate graffiti and street art into their campaigns.
Not too long ago Sony PSP launched an ill-conceived and deceptive campaign that showed how brands should “not” attempt to do these things.
Corporations need to operate within the laws of the universe in which they’re exploring. Adidas clearly understands this with their latest Adicolor campaign
A bid by Sony to win some street cred for its PlayStation Portable gaming system by creating advertising masquerading as graffiti appears to have backfired.
The story starts with Sony deciding to hire street artists in cities across the US to draw graffiti-like caricatures of wide-eyed children playing with the company’s latest gaming gadget.
Then followed the online backlash. Former graffiti artist and now prominent New York blogger Jake Dobkin led the charge.
There was a backlash on the streets too, as many of the ’stealth ads’ were promptly defaced with taglines like “Stop hawking corporate products and big business on our neighbourhood walls” and “Corporate vandals not welcome”.
A German Adidas outdoor poster campaign consisted of the brand’s logo on a white background with a hint of graffiti added.
First, adidas put up a series of mostly white flyerposters – branded with the adidas logo – that subtly encouraged people to tag the billboard and basically mess it up.
But then, days later, they came back to those same ads and placed another poster over it. The new poster features the adidas adicolor show, now with the original tags from the previous poster incorporated into the show design.
Graffitti art is a controversial method for advertising since defacing buildings, cars and other outdoor items is illegal. Philadelphia’s mayor has ordered Sony to remove the ads/vandalism. Other ads have been defaced themselves by local residents who feel the practice is condescending and inappropriate.