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