Agency Post-it Wars Spread, as Other Shops (and Even 3M) Join the Fun

Brand sees the skirmish as a nice little ad

Headshot of Tim Nudd

There was a time when a big company like 3M might have sent a nasty letter to the agencies waging a Post-it war on Canal Street—telling them to quit sullying its brand name in social posts. These days, though, any company that knows anything about social would be thrilled to see something like this develop.

And 3M was.

As the #canalnotes battles got into full swing last week—with Canal Street firms including Havas Worldwide, Horizon Media, Cake Group, Biolumina, Harrison and Star, Getty Images and Heartbeat Ideas festooning their windows with competing Post-it creations—3M leaped into action.

"We learned about the Post-it War battle last week and are thrilled that these companies are using Post-it products for this type of creative expression," Jeff Hillins, global business director for 3M's Stationery and Office Supplies Division, tells AdFreak. "When we heard about the influx of agencies interested in participating, we immediately jumped in and provided Post-it Super Sticky Notes so that more people can get involved." 

And yes, they really did send Post-it reinforcements, which is apparently SOP at 3M.

"Upon receiving word that a Post-it War has begun, Post-it Brand operatives deploy a top secret case of Post-it Super Sticky Notes to ensure a successful mission," Hillins says. "We unfortunately cannot share an image as we prefer to keep the mystery surrounding the cases alive for the next Post-it War."

Thankfully, a Havas employee did post an image of this top secret case, which appears to have included handy instructions for making Post-it art:


That's pretty impressive engagement from the brand, which might have been spurred to think about the appropriate response to such window "wars" when one broke out in Quebec last August. 3M and Post-it have both also been posting about #canalnotes in social, with Post-it retweeting almost all mentions of it on Twitter.

Other brands and agencies have gotten involved, too. Staples also claimed to be sending reinforcements (albeit the generic Staples stickies, and not Post-it brand).


Meanwhile, the wars are ongoing—and even spreading beyond Canal Street, with creations appearing in agency windows as far afield as Dublin and Tokyo.


Media agency Maxus USA's NYC office, out of the blue, posted this insane creation on social—but we'd like to see what it looks like from the street, or it doesn't count. 


This Keith Haring addition was inspired, too:



A photo posted by Tom Jakab (@thomasattila) on


In a nice twist, AdFreak sister brand the Clio Awards challenged agencies to post a Clio statue in the window—and even offered a free table at this year's award show to the first shop to do so (which turned out to be Havas):


But it's not all fun and games everywhere. Horizon Media's landlord apparently had issues with the game at 75 Varick St., on the corner of Canal. The Post-its can stay up for two more weeks, but then have to come down. 

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.