Green Graffiti: Re-imaging Guerrilla Marketing & Public Art

Photo Courtesy of Robin Wagnaar |

Many people have had one of those moments where they believe they have come up with a “once in a lifetime idea.” I know I have. I dreamt up the idea of a shower radio when I was about 10 years old. I was absolutely certain my idea was going to be revolutionary. Little did I know until my father broke the unfortunate news, such an invention had already been made. Jim Bowes also had one of those moments at 3:00am in 2007. The difference between me and Bowes? His idea was actually a good one and it is revolutionizing the business world.  

In 2008, Jim Bowes founded Green Graffiti. Based originally out of the Netherlands, the company is focused on communicating messages with the most environmentally sustainable methods possible. Green Graffiti’s hallmark communication platform is what’s mainly known as reverse graffiti (also known as grime writing or clean tagging). Reverse graffiti involves using high pressured water to remove the natural dirt built up on outdoor surfaces in order to communicate a message. Green Graffiti believes in using environmentally friendly communication techniques because they are both effective and socially responsible. After opening up for business in 2008 and getting things running, the company moved into its own offices in Amsterdam in 2009. Green Graffiti then received national media attention, expanded their business with 10 new licensee partners and had over 29 million internet impressions of their successful Domino’s Pizza advertising in the United States.  

Today, Green Graffiti has offices in 8 countries and 9 partner organizations. They have worked for major international brands including Sony, Starbucks and ING. Their work has also received large exposure in the media and through a biodiversity campaign with the European Union. The company has improved its sustainable measures by compensating for its water footprint through the creation of GreenAdsBlue, a non-profit foundation that invests in water projects for developing countries. Green Graffiti has also expanded its eco-friendly communication platforms by including several new sustainable methods: 1) Chalk and milkpaint tagging. They wash away and create vibrant messages on outdoor concrete surfaces. 2) Sand tagging. It washes or blows away and also creates effective messages on concrete due to the contrasting colours. 3) Snow tagging. It either gets snowed on or stepped on and creates very temporary, but eye-catching advertisements in the winter. 4) Moss graffiti.  Their newest addition, which involves creating moss “paint” that can be brushed onto a surface and later grows into moss where the paint was brushed. 

All in all, Green Graffiti is a perfect example of a strong eco-business. They are attempting to provide practical eco-solutions to real world business problems and they are doing it in an effective way. I strongly encourage you to check out their website and other groups using the growing tool that is green graffiti (see what I did there)!

Graydon Simmons