Out-of-home advertising has one key problem in Seattle: rainy weather. Now, Publicis Seattle is promoting the city's top music and arts festival, Bumbershoot, with creative that requires precipitation.
Publicis Seattle's production team is using a two-part spray paint system -- called NeverWet -- that is virtually invisible when dry, and comes to the surface when touched by rain. The NeverWet product is a spray-on, clear coat that when painted on pavement seals the area underneath the paint. When the pavement around the application becomes wet, it makes the message pop out and become visible.
The agency marked city sidewalks and a 75' x 20' space directly under the Seattle Space Needle with this water-activated paint messaging technique. These white-blocked statements include "Bumbershoot. 3 Days That Make Up For The Other 362;" "Our Reward For Putting Up With Rainy Days Like These. Bumbershoot. Aug 30-Sept 1;" and "Seattle Has Two Seasons: Rain And Bumbershoot. Aug 30-Sept 1."
"The objective behind the campaign was simple: Get people to think about the annual Labor Day music festival in a way that surprises and delights," says Nelson Fortier, senior manager, marketing & development at Publicis Seattle. "We wanted to give the people of Seattle a little unexpected reminder of the goodness and fun that’s in store at the end of August. You see, Seattleites like to say that they look forward to summer all year long, because for the remainder of the year it’s likely raining. So we created a variety of messages that would speak to passersby only during these dreary times, reminding them that it gets better."
Still, this isn't permanent artistry. After repeated exposure -- typically two to three weeks of rain and sun -- the product begins to break down and within another week or two, it’s completely gone. This means the signage will last right until the festival. "The benefit of this type of execution was that it was designed to degrade over time, leaving the message for only a few short weeks and then disappearing forever with no mess or residue… something the city cared greatly about," says Fortier.
The campaign targets Bumbershoot fans and was created, designed and produced completely in-house. Although this project was designed specifically for Bumbershoot, Publicis executives say they have since discovered other innovative ways to leverage the Never-Wet product, and plan to announce these initiatives in the near future.