Rogers reverse graffiti ads are a ridiculous waste

A worker pressure-washes the sidewalk through a Rogers ad template

A worker pressure-washes the sidewalk through a Rogers ad template

The other night, leaving work just after midnight, I noticed a pair of guys with a truck doing some cleaning. It’s not uncommon for graffiti removal pressure-washing to take place late at night downtown, since that’s when pedestrian and other traffic is at its lowest.

But I noticed something odd: They were spraying a board of some sort.

The Rogers template up close

The Rogers template up close

Getting a closer look, I saw it was an ad for Rogers, and put two and two together: these guys were part of some guerilla marketing campaign for Rogers, engaging in “reverse graffiti

Now, reverse graffiti is not a new concept. It’s been used before to great effect artistically, and it’s been usurped by corporate forces too. So despite what the marketing genius behind this thinks, there’s no new ground being broken here.

But that’s not what bothers me.

Rogers "reverse graffiti" after application

Rogers "reverse graffiti" after application

Fido "reverse graffiti" after application

Fido "reverse graffiti" after application

For one thing, reverse graffiti on a sidewalk isn’t exactly very effective. Sidewalks are filthy, sure, but not in a way that pressure-washing can make a significant difference.

Fido ad 36 hours later

Fido ad 36 hours later

Case in point: that same Fido ad above 36 hours later is practically invisible.

Another Fido ad turned out slightly better

Another Fido ad turned out slightly better

The best of three attempts at a Rogers ad: Would you notice this walking by?

The best of three attempts at a Rogers ad: Would you notice this walking by?

Walking by these areas of sidewalk, I noticed that nobody else was noticing them. Why would they? Ste. Catherine St. at Peel is a heavily-trafficked area during the day, and people are too busy trying not to bump into each other to look down and see patterns in the sidewalk. It was only when I started taking pictures that anyone bothered to look.

But even that doesn’t bother me so much.

No, what bothered me is this:

Waste of gas and water

Waste of gas and water

Two guys rented a truck, spent a night downtown with a gas-powered pressure washer, which completed a rare trifecta of being a waste of gasoline, a waste of water, and an unnecessary noise in the middle of the night.

Let’s hope this ill-advised, environmentally-unfriendly idea dies a quick death.

5 thoughts on “Rogers reverse graffiti ads are a ridiculous waste

  1. Marc

    I have to believe that Rogers are desperate for business. A couple years ago they were calling me incessantly to switch my house phone over to Rogers, including sending someone to my front door begging me to switch. Plus after the horrific treatment Rogers gave to some friends & family of mine, this is one messed-up company.

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  2. Jean Naimard

    While the flunkies are spraying, somewhere in a “knock’em down walls”-style renovated triplex with a jacuzzi within a glass-walled bathroom and an oversize terrace full of vines right above the Audi on the Holy Plateau, a marketing executive sleeps snugly with a poupoune (more likely an intern than a secretary) in his arms, full of the self-gratifying sensation of a job well done.

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  3. scottwgray

    Agreed. Reverse Graf is a very cool thing when done artistically, but when done by Ad Men it just reeks of a desperation to build ‘synergy’ with ‘today’s youth demographic’.

    On the plus side, these sidewalk ads DO provide an opportunity to urinate on the Rogers and Fido names. Something that has only been metaphorical up to this point.

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  4. Homer

    It think the folks applying the reverse graffiti didn’t quite understand the concept. The last photo you have looks like a freshly poured ‘piece’ of sidewalk… It seems like a trend as well, the ‘graf’ is sprayed on relatively new concrete. Morons.

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