What if your client was the United Church of Canada and your big idea was to let street graffiti artists paint the exterior of one of their houses of prayer? Think you could sell that one through?
Malcolm Roberts of Smith Roberts pointed me to an interesting program that is part of the work his agency has conducted for the United Church. The “Paint your faith” program is part of the Wonder Cafe initiative that they created back in 2006. It is geared to urban youth and community members through commissioning four artists who use aerosol paint as a medium and were allowed to go to town on the Metropolitan United Church of Toronto.
The idea was to create an urban art installation on the outside wall by allowing artists to do whatever they choose as a symbol of their faith. The wall was unveiled last week and the church even threw a party to mark the event.
This is just the latest in a series of smart projects that casts the Church in quite a different light than one would expect. “We try to find non-traditional ways to reach people outside advertising that says ‘Come to the United Church’ because we know that wouldn’t work, people would just reject that,” Malcom said in a recent interview with Marketing Magazine. Indeed.
Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the wall in the creative pitch to the United Church? Seriously, I can’t imagine a better client that could strike the fear of God into an agency?
The video below is quick overview of the project:
Note of disclosure: I’ve worked with Smith Roberts recently, but not on this program.