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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Subverting graffiti

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Christopher Hutsul has an interesting piece in the Toronto Star today about a Sony graffiti promotion in NYC and San Francisco:

Graffiti purists are rankled by the recent appearance of spray-painted advertisements for Sony’s Playstation Portable in several American cities. Although this isn’t the first time a corporation has borrowed a street-art aesthetic in an effort to appeal to young, urban audiences, this campaign has been seen by some as an attempt to mimic authentic graffiti, thereby marginalizing the subculture.

“The ads were meant to appear as if they were done by artists, that they were an expression of a subculture, and they’re extremely deceptive because of that,” says Marc Schiller, who runs, the online street art resource that broke the story.

Read the whole article here. Also check out the story on Wired. What is interesting to see on the Wooster Collective site is some of the graffiti in response to Sony’s campaign (scroll down the website’s front page to see images).

I worry about publicizing these types of subversions — the greatest thing that can happen to an advertising campaign is to become part of the news. Sony, in this example, doesn’t have to pay to get into the Star or this blog. We’d love to hear suggestions on how to deal with instances like this — email us and we’ll post a few comments.