GE has managed to get around a São Paulo law banning outdoor advertising by decorating local buildings with graffiti art.
Five years ago São Paulo outlawed outdoor advertising, declaring it to be 'visual pollution', but GE has found a loophole in the Clean City law after the mayoral office recently ruled that graffiti art projects beautifying the city would be permitted.
With Almap BBDO, GE painted three 120-foot panels on São Paulo buildings with colourful graffiti art, each celebrating one of the sectors the company operates in: energy, healthy and transportation. When the panels were first unveiled there was no explicit mention of the brand, but GE is planning to add a small logo.
Marcello Serpa, partner and creative director at the agency, explained that panels aimed to make the city more attractive: 'The city has improved because there was a lot of visual pollution before the law,' he told AdAge. 'But Sao Paulo is a grey city. It's not like Rio de Janeiro, the most beautiful city in the world. So we tried to use buildings as billboards on a huge scale, to give the city some colour and bring art to the people, and to use it as a tool to subtly talk about GE products.'
Through its Galeria GE Facebook page people can learn more about the three exisiting panels and the artist who made them. The app links to a map showing where each panel is and offers tips on nearby restaurants, bar and cultural places of interest.
GE is also inviting its Facebook users to vote on the next two panels, which will represent aviation and water, by watching videos of the artists talking about their visions.
In September GE will add a futher panel to represent the theme of transportation, and this will have an augmented reality element.
While 50 grafitti projects have so far been approved in São Paulo, GE is thought to be the first advertiser behind one and acting so quickly will definitely work in the brand's favour. GE had a fine line to walk here and the project would not have worked if the graffiti wasn't visually appealing and referenced the brand in only a subtle way. Luckily, GE managed to strike the right balance by leaning out of the frame, while also drawing attention to the many sectors the companies operates in.
The social media aspect of this project was a smart way to ensure that people knew GE was behind the art panels and encourage people to visit tnem. Allowing people to vote on the art was also a good way to make São Paulo inhabitants feel like GE was giving them a say in the city, rather than just finding a loophole around the city's law.
This story originally appeared on Contagious Feed. Contagious Feed is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious Feed contact firstname.lastname@example.org