General Mills uses reverse grafitti to tag interest in granola bars


General Mills is using a fresh advertising technique to promote its Nature Valley granola bars in Ireland.

The company's TasteofGeneralMills blog details the reverse graffiti project on the side of a derelict building in a high-traffic area of Dublin. Unlike illegal tagging, the grafitti was sanctioned. The project's creative team adhered a stencil to the building and power washed it to let the design shine through the grime, then added a bit of whitewash to make it stand out. The design is temporary and environmentally-friendly.

The Dublin-based Business and Leadership website carried a story and photo of the Nature Valley approach. It included a quote from Gráinne Galvin of Nature Valley Ireland who said the eye-catching image helps the brand "gain stand-out and talkability" and will "interrupt passers-by on their daily commute."

In 2010, the New York Times published a story on reverse grafitti, which has grown as an advertising technique, especially in Europe. The ModernHieroglypics design website carried an interview with British artist Paul Curtis, who goes by the name Moose. He claims to be the inventor of reverse grafitti, described as a "new art form" that is also known as clean tagging. "I replaced the criminal element of graffiti with a positive process," he said. "Cleaning or restoring a surface, rather than spraying and damaging it."

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