Whenever I travel to London, I got to lower level of Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus (back corner where the magazine racks are) and pickup a copy of Graphotism magazine..  Why is this magazine so special?  It’s a magazine the brings the fringe art of graffiti to the mainstream.  Could you ever imagine graffiti art going mainstream to the point where it has its own magazine, art galleries and sought after artists?  It introduced me to a world that I had no experience with but wanted to learn about.

After reading the magazine for a few times, I learned that the main objective of graffiti artists is to make their art seen and for them to recognized by their unique style. In some cases, to dominate the “message” within a city or neighborhood. The ultimate is to tag trains that are on prominent commuter lines so that as many people would see their art.  Graffiti is art where art doesn’t normally belong.

Little did I know that it was a weak signal to the new advertising models that are now emerging. It seems that everywhere we turn these days, we see advertising where advertising normally doesn’t belong. For example,  product placements in games or the ads we now have to experience (or suffer through) before the start of a movie in the theater.

Recently, we’ve seen advertising agencies announce the formation of virtual agencies in Second Life, a virtual world  based on a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG). It’s not enough just to place ads in the games, now the advertising agencies are becoming part of the games to help you place ads in the games!

Where will it end?  What’s the next innovation for advertising?

One idea is to look where we don’t see advertising now.  It’s the ‘surprise’ of seeing it where it doesn’t belong that causes us to remember the ad.  The downside is that the surprise is only a novelty once or twice.  After the initial shock, the new mode of advertising can become quite annoying.

To have real impact, it’s not just about advertising in areas not yet infiltrated but to have ads placed where we should NOT see advertising.  For instance, I hope we never see advertisements on tombstones.

If you were pick a place where you would NOT want advertisements to appear, where would it be?  Post your ideas here.

Let’s hope the advertisers never read this post…

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