Making the World a Better Place: Examples of Mural and Graffiti Advertising
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Making the World a Better Place: Examples of Mural and Graffiti Advertising

Making the World a Better Place: Examples of Mural and Graffiti Advertising

Amelie Baasner

There are endless examples of mural and graffiti advertising. What began in the 60s and 70s as a modern interpretation of one of the oldest art forms in the history of mankind quickly became crucial to out of home advertising campaigns all over the world. 

Now the question is, what makes these examples of mural and graffiti advertising so special? For one thing, murals are eye-catching; everybody loves to look at them and by doing so they become potential clients. But in addition to that, murals are part of a rebellious and controversial art form: street art. 

“What I love about street art is that you simply throw art at people,” 

Explains Rotterdam-based street artist Nina Valkhoff. 

“You go to abandoned places and turn them into something beautiful, you have the power to reach so many people.” 

So even if a mural is made at the request of a special brand or for a specific product, it is always representative of something else. And by being a representation of street art, even mural and graffiti advertising examples can have a major impact on society by transmitting clear values.

Also, each piece of graffiti speaks the language of its painter. Each is an individual expression, often meticulously planned but conveying a free, creative spirit. Let’s look at a few examples of mural and graffiti advertising to get a better understanding of what all of that might imply.

Read also about clean graffiti aka reverse graffiti advertising.

Graffiti and murals are often understood to be acts of vandalism. Vandalism that irritates the public, draws attention and points a finger at something, ideally at social injustice. But there is also beauty and purpose to each mural and that is what makes them a form of vandalism that is not only tolerated but appreciated and lauded. And it is that same purpose which makes murals attractive for contemporary forms of advertisement. Let’s dive deep and check out our first example of mural and graffiti advertising, one that has made the news all over Europe recently.

Europe against animal testing: An example of how mural and graffiti advertising shapes discourse

Street Art advertising by Dove x The Body Shop in Paris

An example of mural and graffiti advertising by Nina Valkhoff. A mural that shows a white rabbit escaping his cage.

Nina Valkhoff has been in the industry for over 20 years, and most of the time covers her walls with colorful and stunningly realistic representations of endangered species. 

“Painting animals and flowers came naturally to me, it has always been there. And we all identify with them so easily which is beautiful.”
Earlier this year (2022), she teamed up with Dove and The Body Shop (via Basa Studio) in order to fight animal testing – a striking example of mural and graffiti advertising conveying a message that goes beyond a simple out of home campaign. 

“When Dove approached me for the mural, they wanted it to look as realistic as possible, especially the eyes. This is why they thought of me, which is of course a big compliment.”
The mural’s purpose is to invite its viewers to sign a European petition against animal testing. It is a direct reaction to a controversial statement recently made by the European Chemicals Agency. For almost 10 years, the production and sale of cosmetics tested on animals have been fully prohibited in the EU, but the European Chemicals Agency recently indicated this ban was under threat, stating that certain ingredients have to be tested on animals before being used by humans.
See also: Advertising murals: how to find the right collab.

The cruelty-free market giants Dove and Bodyshop responded instantly by collaborating with Peta, Cruelty-Free Europe, HSI, Eurogroup for Animals and the ECEAE. They invited Nina Valkhoff to kick off the campaign “Europe stand with us to end animal testing” with her mural in Paris, an example of mural and graffiti advertising meant to mobilize a million Europeans to sign the petition linked to the campaign. 

“I was very happy to paint this very specific bunny and I was very happy to paint a wall in Paris,” 

Nina smiles. 

“I changed a few things to adapt the client’s idea to my style: especially I made the bunny escape its cage. My work is very dynamic and I wouldn’t want this to change.”


CO2-absorbing paint in Austria: Examples of environmentally friendly mural and graffiti advertising 

Frau Isa's mural for Ikea. An example of a CO2 absorbing advertising mural. Photo credits: Ikea.

Another stunning example that can influence public opinion is to be found in Vienna, a hotspot for mural and graffiti advertising. Swedish furniture big shot IKEA built a new store in the western part of the Austrian capital, following a natural and sustainable design. No cars, big spaces and lots of green. 

Part of the all-embracing approach was a mural by the Austrian artist Frau Isa. She worked with the CO2-absorbing paint Airlite, giving it a national premiere. The mural’s flowers, bees and bright colors are not only representative of Frau Isa’s aesthetic, they are yet another iconic example of mural and graffiti advertising which perfectly fits the narrative of social responsibility that goes hand-in-hand with the protection of species. 

“My ideas usually evolve naturally, there are no such things as limits to me. I simply want to paint certain things and there is a lot of drive. Usually my clients give me freedom and a topic, that’s it. As I have established a name I get chosen for my style,” 

Frau Isa explains.

A fantastic example of how social impact can be made through mural and graffiti advertising – the mural reminds people passing by not only of nature, flora, and fauna in themselves but also of the need to protect them.
Another example of mural advertising with a social messages includes the Maybelline graffiti advertising campaign for mental health awareness.

Frau Isa’s large-scale mural in progress. Source:

WIP digital production of the mural by Frau Isa. Source:

Protecting Mother Nature: Mural and graffiti advertising as a reminder to humankind 

Mural of Mother Nature: SOS for global climate change by Lula Goce. Source: @ superkant for @ StreetArtMankind

The peak of mural and graffiti advertising examples incorporating social criticism is probably to be found in Brussels. At the heart of the EU, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) started a 10-year initiative raising awareness of animal and plant extinction with a 40m-tall mural. Spanish artist Lula Goce realized the breathtaking work situated by Avenue Louise, next to a language school and a fitness center. 

The mural depicting Mother Nature holding all the species close to her chest is a striking example not only of mural and graffiti advertising, but of the sociopolitical role murals have in our society. It reminds everyone how closely everyday urban life is linked to the environment and other beings, human or not. And, as Nina Valkhoff stated, people cannot ignore it. Street art throws its message at passers-by, whether it is born out of a collaboration or not. It will never be fully commercialized and always stays true to itself. Or, as Frau Isa might put it: 

“I don’t even have to wish for street artists to stay real. This will just happen naturally as it always has.”

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