Austrian manufacturer Tyrolit may have confused some people on the streets of Vienna when it first posted a blank sheet of metal bearing only a small brand name as a billboard.
But over the course of the next few weeks, the display would gradually rust to reveal the silver silhouette of a knife at the center and the tagline “Flawless Forever,” sealed behind a protective layer amid an expanse of reddish brown corrosion.
The clever use of media, which was orchestrated in collaboration with agency Heimat’s office in Wien, Austria, is designed to demonstrate the durability of the Swarovski Group-owned brand’s Iceline line of cutlery.
The creatives behind the campaign encouraged the oxidation process by removing the rust shield layer from all but the knife outline about two weeks prior to the ad’s unveiling, then spraying it with salt water to speed up the decay, according to out-of-home giant JCDecaux, which also collaborated on the project. It still took several days for the sign to begin to show signs of rust and around a month to achieve the full coat.
The single ad was placed in Vienna’s upscale First District and targeted toward “design-conscious urban professionals,” according to the agency.
The campaign is certainly not the first time brands have tweaked the billboard format to create ads that reveal themselves over time. Lifebuoy soap ran a series of mall ads in 2016 that were designed to gradually grow bacteria in a petri dish-like environment, and Coca-Cola has run outdoor ads that grow plants in an effort to combat air pollution.