Air Pollution Marketing Campaign

Status: Probably photoshopped
image These pictures doing the rounds supposedly show a "guerilla marketing component from a campaign designed to gain public support in an effort to reduce the pollution released by particular powerplants in Chicago. The shape and text was created by power-washing filthy sidewalks using a large stencil form."

It would be a clever idea for an anti-pollution campaign, except that these photos look photoshopped. The border of the image seems a bit too well-defined, as do the lines of the text. Plus, if you're going to do this, where do you get the water and power source for the washer? (Unless you have a mobile washer hooked up to a van.) (via ads of the world)


Posted on Mon May 08, 2006


Looks to me there is just as much mud and crud under the "powerwashed" figure than there is on the rest of the side walk. It's like the figure is just laid atop the nasty sidewalk. Maybe it's an early rendition for real ads, but this sure ain't right.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  11:17 AM
If they powerwashed the sidewalk, wouldn't the lighter area be the cleaner area? And if that is the case, how come the letters are dark? How could they powerwash around a bunch of letter stencils and all of the stencils stay in place? Not gonna happen. This is fake, IMO.
Posted by thephrog  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  11:45 AM
The lettering is in the Apple font called "Chicago"
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  12:11 PM
Good point thephrog. The 'body' denotes where the stencil was cut out and the surrounding area would have been covered, as would have been the lettering. There is no 'stencil' connection between the letters or between the letters and the border. The only way this could have been done is to affix each letter individually, which seems a major pain. The only way this would work is in reverse, with the washed areas being the area surrounding the body and the letters themselves.

My guess is the photoshopper simply forgot what stencils actually look like.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  12:37 PM
There's no reason the body can't be powerwashed through a stencil and the words stamped with water-soluble paint.

Had they come up with a stencil for letters that small, the power washer would likely not have made readable words on most surfaces and would have had trouble with moving the letter stencil around becuse of the small size.
Posted by EricK.  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  01:32 PM
It would be easier to wash in a light area on the sidewalk with bleach than to haul a power-washer around all over town.
Then the letters could be stamped on, as EricK said, or a sticker with the text could be applied.
Or a light-colored (but translucent) sticker with text included could be prepared ahead, and then pasted down on the pavement in a matter of seconds.
Posted by Big Gary, former guerrilla propagadist  on  Mon May 08, 2006  at  04:02 PM
I noticed this very thing happen more than once this week.

You know, lots of times ad agencies mock up these "guerilla campaigns" in advance to show the client, or to pitch the idea in the first place. I know, I've done it myself. I have used photoshop to do things just like this to sell a client on a wacky idea like this.

So it makes it harder for hoax sites like this. Since what's in the photograph is possible physically and tactically, it seems real. However, it might not really BE real -- yet.
Posted by Steve  on  Tue May 09, 2006  at  08:24 AM
PlantPerson: I was about to say that!
Posted by Ian  on  Tue May 09, 2006  at  11:16 PM
"So it makes it harder for hoax sites like this." Au contraire, it makes it easier for hoax sites like this -- all sites crave for visitors, and all visitors crave for content. More fakes => more content => more visitors. Imagine the opposite: no hoaxes -- now THAT would be tough for the MoH...
Posted by Gutza  on  Wed May 10, 2006  at  01:14 AM
About 45 years ago one of the big national magazines, LIFE or LOOK I think, hung a load of wash out and photographed it over a week. At the end of the week it was totally destroyed by pollution. I haven't been to Chicago in a long while, but I bet the air is a hell of a lot cleaner now than then. One point about the "figures" on the sidewalk, unless the photos were taken right away, people walking on them would screw them up quickly. Besides, how often would people look down and actually read the things?
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat May 20, 2006  at  06:30 PM
It always happened!!
Posted by trade show displays  on  Fri Feb 22, 2008  at  01:31 AM
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