Art Festival Utilizes Rain-Activated Ads from Seattle Precipitation

Art Festival Utilizes Rain-Activated Ads from Seattle Precipitation

Bumbleshoot event messages are invisible on a dry day, but become bold block letters when hit with rain

Tiffany Nesbit
  • 5 august 2014

If you know one thing about Seattle, you know it rains a lot. If you know two things about Seattle, you likely know about its annual international music and arts festival, Bumbershoot. The festival, which takes place every labor day weekend, across indoor theaters and outdoor stages, which could be seen as problematic to some. For the people of Seattle, however, rain is the norm- so much so that the festival’s name itself, Bumbershoot, is actually derived from a combination of the words umbrella and parachute. A more difficult problem to solve is how to advertise the festival in a city where umbrella’s are usually up- preventing people from raising their eyes towards billboards. Thinking of Seattle’s constant rain, and the problems it can cause for ads, Publicis Seattle created and produced a series of rain-activated ads that works with the naturally occurring weather.


On the rare, dry day in Seattle, city streets appear as uninteresting as a city street elsewhere. On a rainy day, however, messages advertising the upcoming Bumbershoot festival show up all around the city. To achieve this effect, Publicis Seattle used a two-part spray painting system called NeverWet. The company used stencils to spray on messages with NeverWet that remain concealed until it is wet. When water touches the surface of the paint, it is repelled, thus revealing the messages.

Publicis Seattle was able to bring to life a concept that used the bad weather to its advantage. The idea to use NeverWet was innovative and cost effective, as a 14 oz bottle is priced at just under $30. In addition, NeverWet does more than just repel water. It also acts as a self cleaning, anti corrosive, and anti icing agent. This unique way of using the product in connection to the famous festival was both a natural fit, and a smart move.



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