Street Artists, Open for Business: How Graffiti Went From Illegal to Hired / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

What used to be an eyesore is now considered an effective and affordable marketing medium. How graffiti advertising can help your SMB?

There was a time when graffiti was an eyesore you’d want to scrub off. Now it’s a way to attract eyeballs to your business.

CNN News reports on a trend in South America that’s made its way up north as an advertising vehicle for edgy start-ups. Business owners are increasingly employing graffiti artists, who once symbolized youthful rebelliousness and recklessness, as a hip way to establish brand identity.

Graffiti advertising is a form of guerrilla marketing, a low-cost and unconventional campaign that utilizes local music and fashion trends (and is therefore aimed at younger target audiences) to draw attention to a product or service.

The concept dates back to the 1980s as a way for upstart SMBs to create “brand buzz” without the expense of traditional marketing. It has increasingly been adopted by large corporations (see, for example, this graffiti ad for Mr. Clean) and is popular in large cities such as New York, Paris, Berlin and London. While it may no longer be as edgy as it once was, it remains an effective, unqiue and eyecatching way for businesses to get the attention of their customers outside. 

It has increasingly been adopted by large corporations (see, for example, this graffiti ad for Mr. Clean) and is popular in large cities such as New York, Paris, Berlin and London.

(Source: Business Pundit)

Related Article: 6 Out of the Box Marketing Ideas for 2015

How Can Commercial Graffiti Help Your Business?

More attention-grabbing than billboards. Sure, billboards are big visuals, but everyone knows they’re advertising. Graffiti blurs that distinction: it’s part of the urban landscape, not something put up to draw attention away from it. You might ignore a billboard because, “it’s just another ad.” Graffiti piques interest as a distinctive architectural element, ensuring higher retention and brand awareness.

Highly visible. A graffiti ad at your place of business makes you stand out. Graffiti ads placed at a busy crosswalk or any location where there is heavy pedestrian and/or motor traffic cannot fail to draw attention. Stunning graffiti designs get noticed and expose your brand to peak hour traffic.

Potential for free media coverage. Local broadcast and media outlets aren’t going to cover a new billboard downtown. But they might cover distinctive commercial graffiti that brings a new flavor to the downtown look, getting you free buzz.

One-of-a-kind advertising. One of the most legendary ads is the famed 1984 Apple commercial that only ran once during the Superbowl. People who didn’t even like football tuned in because they knew it would be the only time they could see it (in the days before You Tube). Its exclusivity drew attention. Similarly, a piece of graffiti art is a singular (and often temporary) form of expression. Consequently, people are more likely to make an effort to see it and, as a consequence, become your customers.

Targets a young, hip audience. If your product line skews towards a younger urban demographic, graffiti ads “speak” your customers’ language. They are relevant to your audience.

Helps you go viral. Graffiti art is a natural fit to integrate into a social media campaign that not only extends your branding online, but also creates continuing conversation and promotes interest in your business.

Less commercial. Even when used to promote your business, graffiti is seen as an art form rather than an advertising vehicle. Consequently, it’s more likely to attract “eyeballs” than traditional visual ads.

Low cost. Traditional advertising can cost tens of thousands of dollars. While prices vary, a good graffiti ad could cost less than a thousand.

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