Ads Call Graffiti ‘Pollution’; Grafiiti Says, ‘Likewise’

BBDO launched a pro-bono advertising campaign for the city of San Francisco desgined to curb graffiti.

Its premise is that you don’t stop it in your neighborhood, soon taggers will overtake your house.

Disgruntled graph artists caught the slings and arrows of outrage in their teeth, and returned fire across the bow, after the jump…



The small text reads: “According to SF Public Works Code Article 23 SEC.1301 graffiti results in visual pollution and is hereby deemed a public nuisance. There’s just one thing they forgot to mention…ADVERTISING IS “VISUAL POLLUTION”.”

The response you’re looking for, BBDO, is “touch


Readers may remember a similar response when Sony PSP tried to do graffiti in San Fran and got reamed. San Fran will kill you! With patchouli!

Via Wooster Collective and Adrants.


Edit Your Comment

  1. konstantConsumer says:

    man, i couldn’t agree more with the graffiti artists. wouldn’t you want your room to look like that little kids room? especially if you have a crib sex fetish.

  2. TedSez says:

    They’re right, we citizens really need to be doing our part to stop graffiti. Just as we should be fighting other crimes, such as armed robbery.

    Of course, a better way to go about it might be to hire some kind of, I don’t know, force, one that would be specially trained to deal with crimes that happen on the street. A “police force,” if you will.

    It’s just an idea, but one worth thinking about.

  3. Ben says:

    If this idea makes you sick, they also want to put ads on air sickness bags. I’m thinking AOL should buy some space…

  4. Malachi says:

    Speaking of “Visual Pollution”:
    Big people wearing too-little clothing.

    But seriously,
    I think if people get too up-tight with this “visual pollution” hoopla it will start affecting our 1st Amendment rights (freedom of speech, press, etc.)

  5. misskaz says:

    I agree that these ads are stupid, and that billboard advertising can be just as ugly as some graffiti. But my problem with graffiti is not the visual pollution, whatever the hell that means.

    My problem with graffiti is when it consists of gang tags and symbols sprayed on my garage door (well technically not mine since I rent, but the garage where I park my car.) It’s intimidating, and it’s that way on purpose – it’s about letting it be known that this is Latin Kings (or whatever) territory. And that simultaneously makes me a little nervous and a lot pissed off. It’s my neighborhood too, dammit.

    Granted, when Chicago’s Graffiti Blasters come and paint over the shit on my garage, it’s not like the underlying issues go away along with it. I guess my point is that there is good graffiti that is truly artistic and there is bad graffiti that is not, and both pro- and anti-graffiti folks should be sure to make that distinction.

  6. bambino says:

    My thoughts about people who are rabidly against all graffiti are summed up pretty well by a sample on an old DJ Qbert mixtape (I believe):

    Anonymous sample: “Is graffiti are? I don’t know, I’m not an art critic”

    As if art, or anything else in the world for that matter, cannot be appreciated by the layman.

  7. AcidReign says:

    …..I loved black spray paint when I was a teenager. And I did some bad things with it. And the main reason I was not stopped was two-fold: I was allowed to run around at night with no supervision, and the cops didn’t care. Had I been hauled in, my parents called, and a fine levied, that would have certainly been the end of it!

    …..My kids don’t run around loose. For one thing, it’s too damned dangerous in this day and age! I have to know where they’re going, who they’re going to be with, what time they’ll be home, etc. And I WILL check from time to time. They know that.

  8. Smoking Pope says:

    Wait, wait, wait. Billboards, unlike graffiti, are subject to local ordinances and regulation. You can’t plop a 100 foot sign with flashing neon lights in the middle of a residential district. And local residents are free to change the regulations on advertising through the legal means available to them.

    But graffiti is put up by anyone who feels like it with no regard to the law (or property rights) whatsoever.

    Sure, you may find advertising to be visual pollution. But it’s limited in scope, you don’t have to worry about AT&T tagging your home, and if you don’t like it you can work to pass or change laws to suit your preference. The two aren’t even close to being the same thing.

  9. LLH says:

    no, you just have to worry about at&t tapping your phone

  10. HawkWolf says:

    I lived in a bedroom that was covered in graffiti. It was sweet.

    NOw gangbanger graffiti, booo. Artistic graffiti, yay.

  11. Ben Popken says:

    Carbunkle writes:

    “Companies tag our house with ads all the time! They leave hanging tags on the door, fliers under the edge of the doormat (or just lying on the porch floor) and litter the yard with those stupid ad packs that you just can’t get them to stop delivering. They even try to pry open the latched storm door to stick fliers inside.”