Rethink’s oily posters

Note: original images have been removed

Rethink Communications and Dogwood teamed up to create these amazing posters that “spill oil” when it rains. This video has been viewed more than 40,000 times on YouTube. Check it out …

To find out how Rethink brought this amazing idea to fruition, we asked the folks behind it a few questions. True to form, they also submitted some drawings…

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
See fig. 1

Dave: I’m a copywriter currently freelancing in Vancouver, B.C. For the record, my ears aren’t that pointy, but I do have whiskers.

Todd: I’m an art director at Rethink in Vancouver. I’ve been living in this city for my entire life and I just love being here. I enjoy being outdoors, playing ice hockey and making art (well, mostly drawing myself as a bear).

What inspires you in your work?

Todd: Too many to list… But in general, I’m keen on popular culture, technology, art and design history, sociology, the Internet, friendships and sandwiches.

Dave: These days, there are so many people creating amazing art, music, film, design, advertising – it’s hard not to be inspired.

How did Rethink first come to get involved with the No Tankers campaign?

Todd: We’ve been involved with the Dogwood Initiative for a number of years – ever since Rethink’s Loonie project for No Tankers in 2008. It’s obviously a great cause and something that we believe in, and this will be Rethink’s fourth piece of creative for this campaign.

How did you come up with the oil spill poster idea?

Dave: Todd had the initial idea of using a water-soluble ink that bled when it rained. After some discussion, we came up with the method of revealing the message as the ink bled away. We decided to make them wild postings and place them above existing posters to get the message across. Construction wall hoarding were a perfect fit because it offered free-media and allowed us to demonstrate our idea on old adverts and abandoned buildings. Thankfully there haven’t been any complaints. After that, it was a lot of thumb wrestling whilst wearing hiking boots and short pants.

Todd: At an early conceptual stage, Dave had tossed out the saying: “Oil and water don’t mix. That really stuck, and led in to thinking about the outcome of when the two fluids encounter each other, and how we could possibly demonstrate that effect. Vancouver, of course, inspired the rain and gave birth to our campaign idea.

How hard was it to make the posters work correctly?

Todd: We worked with an amazing printing company in Vancouver called True Colours. They did several rounds of testing to find the right balance and nailed it. The messaging on each poster was printed in a traditional fashion and the overlaying oil tanker was done by hand – so they definitely took some time to make. Obviously, one of our biggest concerns was that the water-soluble ink be 100 per cent environmentally friendly. True Colours assured us ‘it’s so environmentally friendly you could eat it.’ This was comforting to hear for the sake of the environment, and in case we got peckish while putting them up.

What’s the story behind the posters? Was it a team effort?

Dave: Definitely. We couldn’t have done it without a lot of people’s help. We’d like to thank Karl and everyone at the Dogwood Initiative who works on the No Tankers project. They had 100 per cent faith in us and were incredibly supportive. Also, to True Colours for making the posters, and everyone at Rethink who worked on the project.

Todd: And a special thanks to our good friends Carson Ting for shooting it, and Chris Nielsen for editing it. The video is key for sharing the experience online and we’ve had an overwhelming response to the video that we produced. It’s travelled far and wide through social media, like Twitter and Facebook, and it’s gotten a lot of traction through some of the most popular web blogs and web portals. It’s been curious to follow the dialogue that people have engaged in within these online communities, and we’re super pleased that it’s shed real light on the issue.

Todd & Dave: Thanks!

Check out Rethink’s website.

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