What’s on your street? – a little bit of advice on chaulking and street tagging…

Strret tagging bikeLooking for some free space to plaster your message on? Look no further than the floor.

Advertising for peanuts shared these nice (albeit older) street paint shots.

Inspired by these images I’d like to add my own two cents to the subject of “street paintings showing up out of nowhere”:

People are very aware of what’s happening on the ground. If Google Earth gets more into high resolution they might pick up your message as well (that thought actually makes me wonder…)

Our German team did a nice little chalk-on-the-sidewalk, street and wall stunt last year for the German airline Condor. Pictures can be seen on this page – hope you don’t mind the German language (you’ll get the story without the words).

Preparing such a campaign requires a bit more work than it first appears, though.

First comes the hardest part: Do very thorough research of the local laws. Get legal counsel for that. It is money well spent. If you search around you’ll find the stories about fines ranging from $20 to $50,000 and more if you get fined. Find out which ballpark you would be in.

Just to illustrate:
IBM once had to pay $120,000 to the City of San Francisco after painting Linux logos all over the citie’s sidewalks with biodegradeable paint.
Microsoft got into some “real bad” trouble in New York City by covering every available space from lightposts to subway stations with stickers of the MSN butterfly. Unlike IBM, Microsoft got a way with a $50 fine. (Rudy could have collected a bit more on that one).
If you have any doubts, do more research. Seriously: A small mistake here can put you out of business.

Next you need to make sure you find a water soluble paint (usually including chalk) that washes off (not too) easily. They don’t really sell that in containers at the home depot around the corner, so you’ll have to be a bit creative.

Strret tagging bikeNote:
I have seen very fancy spraying mechanisms including this guy using a his bicycle with a notebook controlling the nozzles. We looked at a lot of options and at the end concluded that simple does it. You can‘t allow for failure because of technical problems, so shy away from anything that could work…or possibly maybe (not). It won‘t fly very high with your customer.

If you have the paint and the spraying mechanism down (including stencils or other tools required) you need to figure out where exactly to spray. Even a water-soluble paint can be very hard to remove if it is applied to the wrong surface.

You then need to make sure that you won’t be disturbed. Yes, you will work some night hours on this. We had to spend a few night in the streets to figure out who patrols exactly when an where.

You might also check your weather forecasts to see if you have a major storm front coming. A few dry days after applying the pain and then some heavy rain 2-3 days later would be perfect.

If that sounds easy enough then go ahead and do it. Bring your digital camera and send us some shots.

Street tagging

Additional reading:

Graffiti ads tag NBC for possible city fines
Stenciled phrases that promote TV show don’t wash off easily

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