The same old marketing techniques, paper classifieds, leaflets stuck under the window wipers. It’s time for a something new and exciting, innovative and creative. Something that you don’t need a large budget for or be one of the big players on the market to execute. It’s time to use the streets to work for you, the public access places, urban surrounds and that construction site next door’s fences. It’s time for a ‘wheatpasting’ campaign.
Wheatpasting®, or guerilla marketing, has become increasingly popular in urban areas in recent years. You’ll see everyone from your local bar to large corporations such as Sony and Apple uswiling wheatpasting as a unique and creative marketing tool. You’ll probably remember the famous silhouette campaign by Apple for the iPod back in 2003. Streets were plastered with posters of black silhouettes of people listening to iPods and dancing in front of pink, green, yellow and fuchsia backgrounds. Apple used wheatpasting posters across the US to compliment their TV and print advertising campaigns and helped launch iPod sales in to the millions that year.
Wheatpasting® posters appeal because of their ability to reach potential customers in an unexpected way. You walk down the street past the same wall every day then one day a particular poster is plastered the entire wall, side-by-side with an eye-catching design. You’re attention is drawn. These wheatpaste posters cost a fraction of the price of a magazine advert and the visual spectacle basically forces you to pay attention to it. Wheatpasting® posters rely on manpower rather than billboards to get their message in front of customers. Whilst it is still considered a controversial and aggressive technique, it’s an expanding marketing technique, and one you can be sure will grab attention for your next campaign. With all that being said, it’s not always perfectly legal to stick posters wherever you like, so let’s have a look through our guide to running a Wheatpasting® Campaign without being arrested!
Where is it Legal to use Wheatpasting®?
In most areas, including New York City, it is illegal to stick posters on private property without permission from the property owner. So you should always gain permission before you start putting your posters up on the outside walls of a restaurant or shop. Get in touch with the owner, or better yet get him to sign a release form so you are 100% in the clear. Public spaces, such as parks, sidewalks and roads, may also require permission or permits. There are usually however, many places where posters and flyers can be posted; a good example is college campuses and schools, where many may have bulletin boards or areas designated for this exact reason. Construction sites, which all require fencing around them, often lease the plywood fence space for posters. A prominent construction site in the city can be a perfect, legal place for your next campaign.
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5 Steps to the Perfect (and legal) Wheatpasting® Campaign
- Do Your Research. Scout out, then make a shortlist of locations around your area that will be suitable for wheatpasting. Contact the relevant property owners, councils or companies to find out if there will be costs in using the designated space. Consider what your target audience is and where they are likely to spend time. For example outside a gym might be a great place for a sports drink poster.
- Know The Law. Contact your local government and research whether permits are required to place posters in your designated areas. Prepare a release form for any business owners who are granting you permission to use their property.
- Design a Great Poster. Your design will decide whether your poster’s get attention or not. Use bright colors, bold fonts and make sure your designs stand out. If you need, contact a professional designer like we have here at Printing New York to help you come up with a great and eye catching design.
- How You Post. Check the surfaces of the walls you want to post to. Staples, tape, glue, thumbtacks and adhesive paints are all suitable ways to keep your posters up. Often, guerrilla marketers use ‘wheatpaste’ to fix posters to concrete surfaces. Wheatpaste is easily made a home using common flour and water and is mostly non-permanent.
- Build a Team. You can make a bigger impression plastering a street overnight than slowly over a week. Put a team together of motivated people to help you get those walls plastered with your campaign. Make sure you remind everyone where it’s legal to post your posters.
How to Wheatpaste
Want to know how to wheatpaste? To prepare wheatpaste, mix two cups of white or whole wheat flour with cups pieces of water, mix together and heat the mixture until it boils. When it thickens, add more water, continue cooking over a low heat for at least half an hour, stirring constantly so as not to burn. Some add a little sugar or cornstarch for a better grip; don’t be afraid to try it. Once made, the wheatpaste will last for some time if stored in sealed containers, although it eventually dries or rots and becomes solid inside containers. Keep them in the fridge if you can.
You can also get wallpaper glue from any household goods store like Home Depot; it comes in pre-prepared buckets or powder boxes. Wallpaper glue is much faster and easier to mix than wheatpaste, and not much more expensive, even if you pay for it. You won’t get glues that are advertised as “easy to remove”, obviously you’ll get the strongest glue available.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE WHEATPASTE
– 1 cup of flour
– 2 cups of water
– Stove or hotplate
– A pot or pan
– A large paintbrush
– A bucket or container
– Flyers that you want to put up
– Latex gloves
If you are involved in wheatpasting to express information or ideas, good design is the key to getting your message across to people. Remember that most people will see them from a distance, so make the headline huge and readable and use images that are simple, high-contrast and equally large. Make sure that the headline itself conveys the main idea. You can also include a paragraph or something similar in smaller print for randomly interested parties and it’s always a good idea to add a web page address or similar link for those who want to continue.
Don’t just paste in standard-size photocopies; many copying franchises offer many more options. You can make huge posters; if this printing technology is not available, you can insert large images consisting of small copies. Be creative: you can also insert old editions of anarchist newspapers, or those police task sheets with photographs of masked people, or bus schedules printed with works of art, or income tax stencil forms with relevant tax reports, representation and exploitation.
This may seem illogical, but the thinner the paper, the better it is inserted and is more likely to tear into small pieces than all at once if the art hates it. Another way to filter out such philistines is to quickly chase the razor down and through each poster several times immediately after insertion; the inserted poster, cut in this way, will only tear one small piece at a time.
Where can I post flyers legally?
In most cases, freedom of speech gives you the right to place flyers in public parks, on public notice boards, poles and other public property. You can also distribute leaflets directly to passers-by on the sidewalk, as long as you do not disturb them or obstruct their movement on the sidewalk.
However, this does not mean you can distribute leaflets anywhere without getting into legal hot water. Other laws, such as those prohibiting garbage and inflammatory content, may make it illegal to distribute leaflets in some public places.
For example, laws that prohibit leaflets may make it illegal to place leaflets on public service poles. If you use staples to hang leaflets, you may even be prosecuted for damaging public property.
Of course, there is a difference between what is technically illegal and what the authorities will apply – but you should still strive to comply with local laws. The last thing you want is for your business to be publicly embarrassed in newspapers and on social networks for breaking the law.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to make your brochure legal: just ask your local government. They will tell you where you can legally put the leaflets – and where you can’t. In some areas, you may have to pay for a license or permission to legally distribute leaflets on public land.
15 Ideas to post wheatpasting posters legally
This non-technological marketing method is profitable where everything you need to do to get out of the house and make an effort. But “Where can I send flyers legally”? If you don’t want to do research or experiment in these places, we list here the 15 best places for legal flyer distribution.
1. Post Office: The introduction of the Internet into today’s world has not erased the value of the post office. Every day, people visit the post office for various purposes. You can go to several post offices in your area. Some of them allow companies to put their brochures on the notice boards. You can use this opportunity to do marketing.
2. Restaurants/coffee house: What could be better than a place always full of people? Use the counters in cafes and restaurants to take your brand marketing to the next level.
3. Cities: This option should already be on your list, so let’s move on.
4. Libraries: If your target audience is the young generation or students, this is the best place to advertise your material.
5. Hairdresser / Beauty Salon: If your product is related to the fashion or cosmetic industry, try this place. You won’t regret it. Nail salons
6. Ice cream stands: whether you want a child to be part of your audience or be 50 years old, this is the best place to attract a good number of spectators.
7. Supermarkets: You must have seen many companies using supermarket counters to advertise their products. Why not do it too?
8. Colleges: Like libraries, especially for event organizers, this is the best place to put flyers.
9. Shopping malls: You must have seen many people standing there distributing company brochures to attract customers. Why not try this place, where at least a hundred people come every day?
10. Medical/Dental Practice: If your products are related to health and dental hygiene, there is no better place than this to distribute flyers.
11. Large employers (dining room bulletin boards): Like libraries, large organizations’ bulletin boards will give your business and products a huge boost.
12. Churches: Why not choose a sacred place that half the United States visits every week? Put up your flyers to attract good people too!
13. Amenities/Supply Centers: Gas stations are always full of customers! You can get a guy to stand in 6 of them during the week handing out his flyers and watch sales increase.
14. Car Repair Stores: There are not as many customers as the gas stations, but you can also reach a significant number of people here.
15. Community Centers: Well, you should be aware of the crowds that come here every day. Why not give them your pamphlets?