Bank's graffiti marketing attack slammed

By Mathew Dearnaley

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

The ASB Bank has apologised for any annoyance caused by a graffiti marketing attack on Auckland's Tamaki Drive - but has not ruled out a repeat.

Auckland Council member Cameron Brewer accused the bank of paint-bombing Tamaki Drive after finding yellow stencilled advertisements on footpaths and on the road at six sites while jogging along the waterfront on Monday.

They had survived a pounding from 70,000 pairs of feet on the Round The Bays fun run the previous day, leading him to suspect opportunism by the bank, which said yesterday that the messages were "officially sanctioned" by the event's organisers.

"It may be strategic guerrilla marketing, given 70,000 people ran, walked or wheeled over them as part of Round The Bays," Mr Brewer told the Herald.

"However, it will leave a sour taste in some locals' mouths, who event organisers have built up a lot of goodwill with over the past 41 years."

It was unacceptable that while the bank was spending $132 million building a new environmentally-friendly headquarters in Wynyard Quarter, at the other end of the waterfront "they're out with their yellow spray cans giving themselves a free plug on public property".

Tamaki Drive was a very special place where commercial signage was heavily regulated "and even us politicians dare not put up any election boardings along there for fear of a backlash".

Mr Brewer's concern was echoed on social media by Mike Maloney, who tweeted: "Who @AucklandCity authorised the widespread graffiti of our most public esplanade? @ASBBank - That's a disgrace!"

ASB spokesman Christian May said the material used was not paint, but children's chalk which was ground up, mixed with water and sprayed on.

"It's environmentally friendly and specifically designed as an alternative to the older spray chalk in an aerosol can," he said.

It had been expected to rub off under the feet of Round The Bays participants but had taken longer than expected to disappear in the fine weather, so the bank had it removed yesterday with "buckets of environmentally-friendly seawater".

"We do apologise for any annoyance caused," Mr May said.

Even so, he refused to rule out a similar stunt next year, saying the first consideration would be whether Round The Bays organisers would allow chalk stencils or not.

A spokeswoman for organising company Pants Events, Jody Bews-Hair, said it had not sought approval from the council or Auckland Transport as the road controlling authority before allowing the big chalk-up.

The company was "happy to review this next year" in discussions with council and transport officials.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the organisation had "a zero tolerance to graffiti and if we can find the person responsible we will seek to have them pay for the cost of any clean-up".

- NZ Herald

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