Jul 8, 2008

"Green" Advertising?

Is not very often that you hear or read about "clean advertising".

For one reason or the other advertising is more often associate to dirty things -dirty tactics, dirty messages, dirty streets, you name it- than related to clean things. But a new trend may change that a little bit.

Some are calling the technique "green advertising", some others call it "enviromentally friendly" and it is also being called "reverse graffiti".

The idea, as good ideas are most or the time (I will never cease to repeat this!) is very, very simple: the ads are imprinted in street walls, roads, pavements or any other dirty surface by... cleaning it.

Two companies in Europe are already offering the service and companies like Puma, Smart and ING have been already advertising this way.

Puma Ad Graffiti

One of the companies is based in Netherlands, the other one in the UK. They both offer their services in all Europe and one explains that because their system uses water pressure to clean and therefore create the ad, this type of graffiti is not illegal.

My favorite ad with this system, is this one for the Smart car:

Smart Green Ad

The text reads: "A bit cleaner for the city. The new Smart"

Elle Magazine also got some ads with the same system:

Elle Graffiti Ad

They are pretty long lasting if no one decides to clean the whole wall, and as GreenGraffiti states, "the more GreenGraffiti™ the better"... because they are cleaning the streets not making them more dirty!

PS: Make sure you read the comments below, where Jim Bowes -Managing Director and Partner of GreenGraffiti- and Kristian Jeffrey from Street Advertising, left comments letting us know more about their vision and mission... (thanks to both!)



Anna said...

brilliant idea! but it might be cleaning the streets but using lots of water to do it with? maybe not so green after all...

Anonymous said...

Very cool and beautiful !

Unknown said...

wow, very creative!

Anonymous said...

Great trend. Beats direct mail.

San said...

Eat Prints you are right that needs a lot of water... but is water that should be used anyway if they wanted to clean the wall or the road... and at least the ad does not generate more trash...I guess nothing is perfect! :)

Unknown said...

It uses water pressure, not water amount. Lots of pressure is cause by water trying to be forced out of a tiny opening. It would take lots more water to print an ad of the same size considering how much it takes to make paper.

Anonymous said...

GreenGraffiti is busy working with a Dutch company that will allow us to compensate for the water we use. The idea is that for each litre of water we use, we will provide one litre of clean drinking water to a community where clean drinking water is not readily available.

We have looked into using gray water but have been advised that this could present a health hazard. We would be interested to hear any ideas as to how we could be even more responsible with our water usage.

Feed back, criticism, words of encouragement are more then welcome. We are an open and transparent company that looks to provide a solution and any information or ideas that would improve the process would be greatly appreciated.

Jim Bowes

Anonymous said...

what about reclaimed water? i think its a cool idea, and it surely uses less water than other options (or cleaning the whole street/wall

StreetAdvertisingServices said...

Thanks for the article Ugly Doggy! We use recycled rainwater. Very simply we collect the rainwater, filter it and then apply adverts with it. We also offset our carbon footprint by planting trees in the UK. We are as environmentally friendly as is possible in advertising,
Kristian Jeffrey
Street advertising services

AL said...

I think it is RUDE behavior......well funded taggers. If this company has not requested permission from the City or Businesses to stencil on property, then it is graffiti plain and simple. In one city, I know this company did not, so I suspect that it's standard operating procedure not to ask. I think both the advertising company and the companies paying for these ads should be fined. If the Ad Company asks permission for the priviledge of posting these ads and the City/Business agrees...thats different. If this company is so green and supportive of the community, then it should show it's support by donating to programs such as graffiti abatement. Show some respect to the community. The only difference between Art & Graffiti is Permission!

San said...

I have to differ AL. OF course it may be better if they have permits BUT you shouldn't need to ask a permit to clean... the may be cleaning in a selective pattern, but is cleaning anyway!

Anonymous said...

If someone writes 'WASH ME' on the dirty back window of your car is that cool too?

If I cut all the grass at my local park, but leave a Nike swoosh in the center is that cool?

If a child uses sidewalk chalk to to draw a big mr. sunshine happy face in front of his parent's house, cool?

Unknown said...

As the owner of GreenGraffiti one of the companies who is using the reverse graffiti effect on a commercial basis I just wanted to say that we have asked permission repeatedly. The challenge is that what we do does not fall under any law in the Netherlands. There are no licenses or permits for what we do. We do not want to be a guerrilla company sneaking around in the middle of the night which is why we place a small GG symbol by each GreenGraffiti we do. If someone complains we come back and remove it asap. This is a positive and non agressive form of advertising.
We do financially contribute to not for profit locations and we did in fact make a donation to the Solid Ground Movement a graffiti and hip hop school in Amsterdam.
We also have developed one of the first water compensation programs designed specifiaclly for GreenGrafiti by the value agency called Green Ads Blue as we couldn't find a way to compensate for or water footprint. We use clean water as there are health issues concerned with water and we would hate to risk anyone getting sick from a water born disease. Water is a core part of our business and we will improve everyday but for now we are one of the first companies in the world to compensate for our water footprint.

Anonymous said...

I own a uk business called dirtystreetads.com, we're passionate about conserving the natural water supply and doing our bit to help the environment.

Currently we use water collected from rain barrels for our street ads. Using the right sized vans for each job is also important.

Good to see other people are interested in our work and share the same eco friendly morals.

Keep up the good work.

Kristian Jeffrey said...

Very interesting comments. In my dealings with Jim Bowes from GreenGraffiti has always been very honest and well intentioned in creating his advertising campaigns using clean graffiti. I would strongly recommend his services for continental Europe. If anyone is thinking of proceeding with a street advertising campaign, please be aware of other companies claiming to use rainwater stored in barrels. Unless they can prove with pictures and invoicing that they have a genuine rainwater recycling system with filters and water treatment. The client or brand owner could also be liable if a water borne disease such as Legionnaires spread as a result of using grey water by a clean advertising company. It's also worth checking the company has public liability insurance too.... It's a shame dubious companies try to hoodwink their well intentioned clients by making such claims.

Marissa @ VisualFizz said...

My experiential and digital marketing agency has been experimenting with reverse graffiti as a form of advertising. The trouble is - its just as hard to track as billboards and other traditional forms of marketing. There's ways to make educated estimates, like a specific web URL just for the piece or "mention this ad for___", but its still not as precise as web visits. We've also found that including specific hashtags and then tracking them on twitter and instagram and even snapchat is an effective way to learn about the people seeing the graffiti piece. Great article!