HomePro, one of the biggest household hardware and furniture stores in Thailand, came up with a rather remarkable ad campaign. As a part of the recently launched Other Side campaign, the company designed and created sidewalk billboards that double as walls for small houses.
Sidewalk billboards are a widespread phenomenon for short-term advertising in Thai cities. The billboards are replaced every couple of weeks and the local governments have to take care of removing the old ones. Plenty of Thai live in underprivileged areas. Many of them recycle the old sidewalk billboards for the construction of their homes. In order to help these people, and to attract attention to their campaign, HomePro has designed the backside of the billboard as a prefabricated and pre-furnished wall to be used for the homes.
On one side these billboards advertise the regular messages, but on the other side the boards are decorated with nice wallpaper designs and fixtures such as shelves, hangers, and lights. As soon as the ad campaign has ended, locals can take these signs to their home and re-use them to remodel their homes.
We’ve written a whole series of articles in which we explore the ‘Marketing Is Urbanism’ phenomenon. This campaign is yet another good example that characterizes this trend. Besides spreading a commercial message in public space the campaign also helps the city, and in this particular case the less fortunate inhabitants. The combination of marketing and urbanism always leads to interesting debates about the ownership of public space. On the one hand it’s commercial, yes. But on the other hand we must admit that this campaign uses the money spent on adversing in a creative way to make lives of the locals a little better.