Dutch agency Fresh Green Ads will cut your company logo into crop fields, sculpt giant effigies of your product out of sand, and even scour your branding tagline into grimy sidewalks using high-pressure water jets. Now they’ve cooked up yet another stunty-yet-clever eco-branding method: the RainCampaign, which displays your commercial message in a downpour, but stays invisible otherwise.
That transitory appearance highlights one feature that bedevils ads: If people get too used to them, they easily learn to ignore them. Maybe they’re far more effective if they’re fleeting?
Fresh Green Ads didn’t answer my question about how this works — claiming only that RainCampaign is “an environmentally friendly process” that doesn’t use “any chemicals” — but it’s clearly some kind of hydrophobic substance spray-stenciled onto the pavement. When the rain hits it, the substance must repel the water, making the stenciled message stand out compared to the darkened pavement around it. (Why wet things turn darker in the first place is a separate, and quite fascinating, question in itself.)
According to Design Taxi, RainCampaigns are already being used by “brands looking to capitalize on the wetter seasons, like tire companies advertising winter tires as well as travel agencies promoting tropical getaways.” The neat reverse image lasts up to eight weeks, plenty of time to catch several gentle spring showers. Of course, having our spring showers brandjacked by Fresh Green Ads may be kind of offensive on general principle. But you can’t fault ’em for their clever tactics.