Art attack goes viral

Downtown London was looking for a bold idea. We launched an Art Attack.

Watch the video to see 12 hours unfold in under 3 minutes

Challenge

Dundas Street is downtown London’s busiest thoroughfare, travelled by thousands of cars and pedestrians daily. Confronted with a 6-week closure for routine road maintenance, Downtown London was looking for bold idea to shift the reaction from inconvenience to excitement.

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Insights

More than 80% of London’s office space is located in the core and 30,000 working professionals between the ages of 25 and 55 rely on Dundas St. and downtown buses for travel every day. This demographic is extremely active on Twitter and Facebook. Engaging this connected audience would be key.

Bold idea

The plan was ambitious: take 10 local graffiti artists, 56 gallons of paint and lay an enormous roller on Dundas Street in the middle of the night, without anyone finding out. On Monday morning, Londoners woke up to a 3-block-long message: “Experience Downtown London.”

Surprise was a huge part of the success. Everything remained a secret (only the Chief of Police and City bylaw officer were in the know) until 5:30 a.m. when the team started talking on social media about an “art attack” on Dundas Street.

Leaked behind-the-scenes photos fuelled the excitement and then a media release went out at 6:00 a.m. to catch the morning news. Aerial photographs and a time-lapse video were distributed shortly after. Artists continued to add free-form graffiti as people arrived downtown for their work day.

56

gallons of paint

Big results

  • 1,200 YouTube video views in first hour, 6,000 by end of day
  • top trending local story on Twitter
  • 30% growth in Downtown London Facebook fans
  • over 700,000 earned media impressions
  • front-page news in both daily newspapers and coverage from all local radio and TV news

Art Attack won five awards, including one from the International Downtown Association and a national award from IABC Canada.