Graffiti Advertising


Graffiti art has been around for centuries and when using graffiti you are advertising yourself or your company to the streets for everyone to see. When people start spraying buldings or subways you are representing yourself as a artist and some would reference it as a "fame game". An individuals goal is to mark their art as much as possible so people well know who this individual or company is. The companies are putting their logo or name on these walls to let as many people as possible know who or what they are trying to say. It has created big competition between different individuals and companies, and in some cases means more and more graffiti being featured throughout different critites (Katars). Some companies have even taken chances and are using graffiti art as a way of advertising. Just by spraying your logo real fast on city walls, companies are gaining tons of reach to the public eye.


The scheduling for advertising depends on the season. When it is warmer you tend to see more and more graffiti on the walls then in the colder months. You generally see it during the summer, spring, and fall. It is hard for artist to stand out in the cold and spray on the walls. So in this case graffiti is a pulse effect because you see it more in certain times, it is not a year round advertising.

When the general public sees graffiti it is a eye catching advertisement. The responsive to the graffiti is usually surprising but shocked at the artwork on the grounds. When one company decides to use graffiti the general public responses is surprising because it is illegal but generally gets your product out there and the general public well pay attention to it. But not all reactions to graffiti is good, like the example in this Anti-ad video .

Graffiti art has been around since the beginning of humans, and started seeing a lot more of it in the ancient Egyptain monuments. Graffiti is the plural form on the Italian word grafficar meaning, signifies drawings, markings, patterns, scribbles, or messages that are painted, written, or carved on a wall or surface (Stowers).

Modern Graffiti orginiated in New York City, when it began in the later 1960's when teens used permanent makers to tag or write their names. It qucitly increase in size and color and then one started using spray cans to separete themselves and could emphasize more creatively to ones own art work. By the mid 70's writes started painting subway trains, then taking graffiti art to a whole new level (Stowers).

Reason for using Graffiti Art

When an individual is walking around crities or towns you well always see some kind of graffiti art on the walls, pavements, busses, really anywhere and it well always caught your eye. Groups use graffiti because it is a free and cheap way to get yourself out in the public eye. All one needs to promote themselves on the street is a couple of spray cans and one imagination. One gets to create their art work on these paltfroms without buying space or renting one. It is free and many artist enjoy making their mark on critizity with their own symbols and words. Graffiti is very eye catching and by using big words and bright colors people are going to remember the persons ads more then just a plan billboard or marazgine ad.
Also, when using graffiti art you don't have to rent a space or pay a monthly fee for using your ad. When spraying painting on the item it is a free space for the companying to use.

Many Companies are using what is called "Reverse Graffiti" which doesn't use any paper or ink to produce it's message. Many of the products that are used for the "reverse graffiti" are organic and are not harmful to the environment. Companies that use this type of graffiti as advertisement and marketing are tired of being viewed as "the bad guys", says Jim Bowes, founder of GreenGraffiti. GreenGraffiti is a Dutch marketing firm that has been a pioneer in the use of "reverse graffiti". They have contracts with companies such as Dominos Pizza.


"The city is our canvas. We can tell a story over the course of two blocks if we want to, without paper, without ink. We don’t want to be the bad guys anymore; we want to show the world that the advertising industry is capable of providing alternatives.” -Jim Bowes, Founder of GreenGraffit


This type of advertising is very useful but is also illegal. It is concerned to be vandalism and if one is caught they can pay serious jail time. If one gets caught vandalims a publlic area one can face a fine minimum to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. A even husher one is when the felony is convicted under state law it can include four years in prison, a $5,000 fine, drivers license revocated, unlimited restitution, and more than 200 hours of community service cleaning up graffiti (Anit-graffiti). Graffiti is a great way to get your name out on the streets but the risks leading up to this felony is a great risk.

Some people see graffiti as a ugly art and some don't even consider it being a art form. It is a big problem in the united states and many people are against this cheap inexpense advertising.

Reach & Frequency

When someone puts graffiti up on a wall it well most likeily stay up there for a long time and these artist well generally put their art work in more then one place of the city. In this case people well be seeing a lot of this individual art work because when using in a city it well be reaching a lot of people and if placed in enough places in the city it can achieve the amount of frequency this person was trying to get accross.

If an individual just places one mark on one wall then most likely it is not going to receive much reach and frequency. In most cases an individual well just place one art work on a busy intersection and that well recieve a lot of reach but not much frequency, unless the same people travel the same way every day. It all depends on the way the public is traveling and the where the individual places the artwork.

Here is an example of someone being reached by the Graffiti Advertisment

Who is using This?

Many companies are using this even thought it is illegal like in this case IBM has taken the risk of using graffiti advertising. IBM placed hundreds of paintings throughout the city of Chicago, saying "Peace Love Linux" logo. Officals have threatened the comapny to clean it up or they well be faced to pay a number of fines (Kessler). Another company that has been seen on the brick walls is Dodge advertising their car Caliber (McCormick). Dominos Pizza has launched campaigns using outdoor graffiti with the help of GreenGraffiti marketing firm. Those who saw Dominos campaign were encouraged to send in a picture of it with the chance of winning a gift card. Clorox is also another company that is using "reverse graffiti" to promote their line of eco-friendly and green products.

In January 2007, Cartoon Network launched a guerrilla marketing campaign in ten major cities across the United States. Several square black placards, each the size of a placemat and dotted with electronic LEDs, were covertly installed using magnets onto street signs, walls, and bridges all over the country. Displayed in lights on the placards were two pink and green pixilated alien life forms giving passersby the finger. The aliens were characters from the Cartoon Network's new Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. The placards were covert ads for the film. But to a transit worker in Boston, who noticed one of the devices on the morning of January 31 near the Sullivan Square train station, they looked more like bombs (Mason).

Example of Louis Vuitton Graffiti Advertising



Graffiti has sure proven to the world that it is just not free advertising but a whole new way of looking at art. Some say it is not an art, just an act of vandalism but more and more artist are proving people wrong by making their mark on city streets. Everywhere people look you well find some sought of graffiti either on walls, busses, subways, sidewalks, and just about everywhere eles you turn. We can trace graffiti back to the beginging of time and graffiti has no sign of slowing down now. It's a way to expression yourself and not just by advertising for major corporations but for individual artist to expression themselves freely.

Related Images

external image gta_gr_01.jpg

external image graffiti.jpgUrban-Outdoor-Advertising-Graffiti-Mural.jpg


Anti-graffiti Laws and Penalties. (2008).

Katars, A. (2006). Advertising, Propanda, and Graffiti Advertising.

Kessler, M. (2001). IBM Graffiti ads gain notoriety. USA Today. 0734-7456.

Mason, M. ( Oct, 2008). Takin' It to the Streets. Conference Board Review. Volume 45. Issue 5. Pg. 45-47.

McCormick, L. (June 26, 2006). Word on the Street: Graffiti and Advertising?.

Stowers, G. (1997). Graffiti Art: An Essay Concerning The Recognition of Some Forms of Graffiti As Art.

Trowbridge, L. (2010, June 7). Marketing firms going green with 'reverse graffiti'. Top - Digital Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2010, from