Archive for the ‘street advertising services’ Tag

Reversing: A White Van Story

I wish my wife was this clean. Also available in soot grey. Not phrases you’ll have seen written on a white van.

When a white van is pristine clean, no one writes “clean me” on it. It would be criminal damage without a meaning to the message (except to a postmodernist).

Written on a dirty van, it makes a lot more sense. It’s a form of reverse graffiti or dust tagging.

Two of the world’s most famous dust taggers are the UK’s Paul “Moose” Curtis and Brazil’s Alexandre Orion.

Last year, Alexandre Orion dust tagged São Paulo with hundreds of skulls. He attacked the sooted walls of the underpass between Avenida Europa and Avenida Cidade Jardim as a protest.

He wanted city authorities to recognise the level of road pollution and do something about it. They did. They spray-cleaned the walls to remove his skulls. But he kept moving, and they had to keep cleaning.

In April this year, Paul Curtis dust tagged San Francisco’s Broadway Tunnel. Using stencils of plants and wildlife indigenous to the region, he created an elaborate mural. It cleaned the surfaces it adorned.

It was a project commissioned by Clorox Green Works cleaner: a commercial product that uses plant-based ingredients for “natural cleaning”. So still makes sense, right?

I saw this advert today for Bacardi on the streets of Farringdon today (click the map for an exact location).

Now London’s got pollution. No doubt about it. But when you see how faded the stencil is, you’ll guess the soot underfoot isn’t inches thick. There’s been no need to spray it off.

So is Bacardi an organic product, guerilla-styling its green credentials? Not unless Vinnie Jones has taken to tugging on green stems since we last saw him.

These kinds of reverse graffiti ads are popping up all over the place now. Sometimes they champion an anti-pollution issue. But more often they don’t.

Companies like Street Advertising Services are offering their high-pressure steam and stencils to polish the good corporate buck.

I don’t mean to diss SAS. Their heart’s in the right place. But this advertising is not.

To my eye, it looks like a white van spray-painted “clean me”. Somehow things have got a bit back-to-front. (Thanks to Giles for the original tip-off).

More on reverse graffiti at Environmental Graffiti.

More on ads cleaning streets at Springwise.