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Bigger, Bolder, Out of Home: The Unique Possibilities with Hand Paint

There has been a surge of experimental campaigns in the out-of-home advertising world, but do hand painted murals have the upper hand when it comes to pushing the envelope? 

From hidden messages and rain-activated mural art to large 3D installations of crumbs from a classic American breakfast treat, 2024 has become a year of out-of-home (OOH) innovation that has put our Paint Lab team at Overall Murals to work. 

One of my favorite things about mural advertising is the ability to paint anamorphic (distorted perspective) art on the side of buildings. This unique technique stops passersby in their tracks as they try to interpret whether what they’re seeing is actually popping off the wall.

We did just that and more with Netflix’s campaign for Unfrosted (written and directed by Jerry Seinfeld)  where we hand painted a giant anamorphic Pop-Tart with 3D build-outs on two of our wallscapes in New York and Los Angeles. Our paint team rendered the Pop-Tart art directly on the “skirt” of the wall, so it looked 3D, and added physical pieces of crumbs and jam to hang from the hand painted Pop-Tart to create a sensory overload! The physical pieces were created by our friends at Midnight Oil

While other outdoor advertising mediums, such as vinyl billboards or bus-stop ads, can incorporate build-outs to boost their visibility, painted murals offer an added dimension. The handcrafted process of mural creation, visible to many as they pass by, coupled with the artistry of rendering the mural in anamorphic form on the wallscape, creates a unique and authentic impact. Our artists employ traditional brush and paint techniques to precisely execute this illusion. Good luck attempting such intricacy with vinyl sticker advertisements. 

Another exciting venture we had this year was experimenting with rain-activated paint. Wet weather is usually our greatest adversary to the process when it comes to our oil-based mural ads, but for Ore-Ida’s campaign on our wallscape in Seattle, a rainstorm was just what we needed! 

Ore-Ida’s team approached us with the high-stakes task of a never-before-done “rain-activated” mural, that displayed one message when it was dry and a different color and message when it was wet from rain (let’s see you try to pull that off with wild postings). Utilizing multiple days of testing different techniques and products on the market, our production team came up with the solution to make this unlikely mission achievable. 

From the small test wall in our Brooklyn-based shop to our 40-foot vertical wallscape in Pike Place, Seattle, we did our best rain ritual before the magic happened as buckets of rain (shout out to you Bob Dylan fans) trickled down our inevitably award-winning (fingers crossed) mural! How many vinyl billboards have you seen pull off something like this? We can answer for you… zero.

Now let’s move on to our highly requested Paint Lab service, glow-in-the-dark murals. When it comes to illuminated wall units, our hand painted mural spaces have the advantage of all things “glow.” Whether for fluorescent or translucent illuminated paint, our black-light illumination can’t be replicated with such success in any other format. In fact, fluorescent and other black light artworks for advertising are only possible with our expertise. Psst, even those traditional billboards you may have seen glowing with blacklight used paint to achieve the effect!   

Recently, we had the pleasure of working on a chilling street-level mural in Melrose, Los Angeles for a Lionsgate horror film called Imaginary. The goal of the mural was to have one artwork appear during the day, and an eerie hidden message would appear only at night. Using translucent paint and black lights installed above the mural, our paint crew made eerie wizardry a reality. On par with the frightening film, our mural effectively spooked people out as the sun fell and the creepy painted messages unseen during the day were revealed. 

As we reflect on our innovative ventures, it's clear that hand painted murals continue to redefine the boundaries of out-of-home advertising, offering a canvas for creativity that transcends the limitations of more common mediums. So, when you're mulling over your next groundbreaking out-of-home campaign, entrust us with those visionary ideas that seem to defy possibility. 


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