This agency's 'clean graffiti' is stunning the internet

Guerrilla marketing can be an effective technique to create a buzz, especially when resources are limited. And a UK marketing agency has shown that a little innovation can go a long way. It's received quite a reaction online to its real-world 'clean graffiti' technique, which it thinks could become a trend.

Harrix Group blasts water onto dirty streets to stencil eye-catching messages that eventually disappear as the pavement is reclaimed by the grime of the city. It's not a new technique, but it's been blowing people away on Instagram as surely as it blasts dirt of the street. Group CEO James Rix tells us more about why he thinks it's a sound alternative to big billboard advertising.

Small brands might not have the resources to pull off viral stunts like that CGI Maybelline ad that fooled a large portion of the internet, but Harrix Group reckons it's still possible to get people talking. Its recent water-powered street stencil campaign for the Great British Beer Festival did just that, taking off in the virtual world after Harrix posted about it on Instagram. The post has picked up numerous comments from people admiring the ingenuity of the technique and expressing surprise at how clean the results are.

"This was our first use of the idea since pre-Covid. I guess the world forgot this awesome little trick but now we have lots more planned," Rix says. He notes that while the campaign was well received on the street, the wider impact on social media expanded the client's reach further since it got more people talking about the festival. "It was the ultimate win-win for the client-agency relationship," he says.

James Rix

James Rix, CEO and co-founder of Harrix Group (Image credit: James Rix)

Harrix aims to make it a win in terms of sustainability too. The process might use a lot of water, but Harrix offers to use rain water. Most significantly it saves on using paint or turning out masses of paper flyers and posters that get binned

"Cleaning the streets is always positive and finding ways to graffiti without using toxic paints while having the same impact is awesome," Rix says. "In the past, we have done it on walls and roads and it has superb reach and has always made people talk. Now due to social media, this impact can be on a global scale."

Rix says he sees more opportunities for the technique and also has new products and ideas in the pipeline, with an ethos firmly on helping small brands make an impact in a sustainable way with few resources. 

"I believe marketing doesn't have to be new, expensive and covered in plastic. It can be reused, reduced, recycled, and cleaned in a million other ways. We encourage brands all the time to give away products supermarkets won't take due to them being too close to their use-by dates. It makes sense, why bin it so when you can give it away, saving the disposal cost, the product gets used and you will find a bunch of new customers?"

You can learn more about the agency's work at Harrix Group's website. For more advertising inspiration see our pick of the best print ads.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.