We are constantly bombarded by ads. On buses, garbage bins, TTC shelters and in the sky line they are hard to escape. But after a while of living in the city, one becomes immune to their carefully constructed lure. For better or worse, ads are a part of the urban fabric that you can learn to ignore. However, once in a while an ad comes along that captures our attention. It’s intriguing and beguiling. It’s edgy and coolâ€¦but, it’s an ad.
This is true of the life-sized hipsters with scooter heads that have been pasted at street-level on the sides of buildings across town. Canadian photographer and graffiti artist Fauxreel is responsible for the scooter-men, dubbed Antlerheads. Fauxreel‘s work, especially his pasting, is known for being off-beat and innovative. He plays with perspective, pop culture and politics. The Antlerheads are so appealing that both the Globe and Mail and blogTO have praised their effective marketing.
The added mystique of the Antlerheads is that they are not labelled. There is no immediate brand recognition, or website to quell the inquisitive of their curiosity. But a stroll down a certain scooter shop on
Despite the creativity of the campaign, this form of guerrilla marketing is illegal. Even if the advertising company responsible for these ads got permission from property owners to paste the Antlerheads on the exterior walls of their buildings, as third party advertising, they require a permit from city hall. And, according to Rami Tabello of illegalsigns.ca, chances are, they didn’t. â€œIt’s easy to tell that they are illegal. They are located in places not permitted in the signs by-law and didn’t receive city council permission,â€ says Tabello.
It is also interesting to see Fauxreel, an established graffiti artist who not only uses public and private spaces to showcase his artwork, but whose art is known to destabilize and play with traditional forms of advertising, working with a corporation and utilizing the same medium as he uses for his independent work. After all, isn’t guerrilla marketing like this the bane of community posterers and graffiti artists? It’s almost like he’s consorting with the enemy.
And, in response to intimations that the Antlerheads campaign is original, Goldsbie says, â€œIt’s pathetic. It’s anti-democratic. They [Vespa] believe that public space is just a blank canvas for a sales pitch.â€ While Tabello adds, â€œThere is nothing edgy about two-stroke engines that go as fast as a bike.â€
photo by Patricia Simoes