Gabey Goh
Sep 7, 2016

Desperados tags Singapore with light for #BreakNormalArtHack

Beer brand Desperados sparks up street art movement with light in Singapore.

Desperados tags Singapore with light for #BreakNormalArtHack

SINGAPORE - Desperados has launched a campaign to ‘paint the unpaintable city’ with SapientNitro, part of Publicis.Sapient.

Desperados is a mix of beer and tequila flavour, shot through with a bite of lemon. While it’s been around for more than 20 years and is very popular in Europe and the Americas, it was only launched in Singapore in 2014, and is targeted at the 18 to 24 age group.

Dubbed the #BreakNormalArtHack, the project saw the agency collaborate with local talents Zero, Tech and Brandon Tay to create branded graffiti-style artwork on the walls of the National Gallery, National Stadium and People’s Park Complex.

With vandalism famously outlawed, the artists used a ‘spray can’ to graffiti the walls with light. A branded #BreakNormal bike loaded with all the required equipment roamed the streets of Singapore between locations.

Here's another beer brand making an effort at street art:
Tiger Beer turns (a tiny amount of) air pollution into art 

The artwork itself was created using a specially adapted spray can equipped with an infrared LED light. When the nozzle is pressed, the LED lights up and its position is detected using two infrared sensors.

The resulting data is run through Sapient-developed software on a laptop and projected onto the wall. It all happens so fast that the ‘spray paint’ appears in real time—just as it would from a normal can. Animations with each stroke bring the artwork to life and the artists can switch between colours using a digital palette, also projected onto the wall.  

Sapient will be enabling the street-art community to adopt this technology by releasing the software and parts list online.

Venus Teoh, head of marketing at Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore:

#BreakNormalArtHack epitomises the spirit of the Desperados brand—having adventurous experiences at the edge of the boundary, through a fresh and innovative perspective that sparks curiosity and interest in our consumers.

Claire Waring, ECD, SapientNitro Southeast Asia:

The Desperados Art Hack is a great example of a brand innovating to connect and contribute to the cultural landscape of Singapore. The collaboration between creative and technology has been fantastic and we can’t wait to see what the artists do with the #BreakNormal Bike next.

Campaign Asia-Pacific’s view: We think the technology being used to “paint” with light is great. With Sapient releasing the software and parts list online, it will be interesting to see what kind of work comes out of the art community using these tools.

Desperados is known for its counter-culture brand personality, so attempting to bring that to life in a conservative, regulation-heavy market like Singapore is always going to be tricky. The tagline of ‘paint the unpaintable city’ does lend an air of rebelliousness, but discovering that it’s light rather than paint adorning the walls of buildings might be seen is a mild letdown by certain people.

That said, it’s still cool art, and you could argue that regular paint would be 'oh so normal'. Overall, a fun exercise for a beer brand looking to gain some street cred.

Creative leads: Claire Waring & Rob Peart, SapientNitro
Content and social strategy: Alice Farebrother & Aquila Abu, SapientNitro
Client service: Andy Male, SapientNitro
Project management: Joseph Torrijos, SapientNitro
Technology: Shi Ping
Agency partners: Brandon Tay, Zero, Tech, Black Sheep Live & Starcom

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