Desperados vandalises iconic local buildings with LED light

Beer brand Desperados has hit the streets of Singapore with a provocative campaign called “Paint the unpaintable city”. This was done with the help of SapientNitro.

Running with the hashtag #BreakNormalArtHack, the project saw the agency collaborate with local talents Zero, Tech and Brandon Tay to create branded graffiti-style artwork on the walls of the National Gallery, National Stadium and People’s Park Complex.

Staying true to the Desperados #BreakNormal spirit, all was not as it seemed. With vandalism outlawed in Singapore, the artists used a spray can to graffiti the walls with light in real time. A #BreakNormal bike loaded with all the required equipment roamed the streets of Singapore between locations.

The artwork itself was created using a specially-adapted spray can equiped with an infrared LED light. When the nozzle is pressed, the LED lights up and its position is detected using two infrared sensors. The resulting data is run through Sapient-developed software on a laptop and projected onto the wall.

Animations with each stroke bring the artwork to life and the artists can even switch between colours using a digital palette, also projected onto the wall.

The campaign has also caught the attention of Brazilian new media duo, VJ Suave, famed the world over for their animated light projections.

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Desperados was only launched in Singapore in July 2014, and is targeted at the 18–24 age group.

“Building brand equity in a completely new market is never easy,” said Andy Male, Senior Account Director at SapientNitro Singapore. “But by creating something truly different and amplifying through local influencers such as Samantha Lo (aka the Sticker Lady) and Mae Tan, we’ve been able to stay relevant to our target audience.”

“Desperados approached us to create something that would really make their young audience sit up and take notice,” said  Kim Douglas, managing director, SapientNitro Southeast Asia.

“The Desperados Art Hack is a great example of a brand innovating to connect and contribute to the cultural landscape of Singapore. The collaboration between creative and technology has been fantastic and we can’t wait to see what the artists do with the #BreakNormal Bike next” Claire Waring, executive creative director, SapientNitro Southeast Asia added.


Venus Teoh, head of marketing at Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore, said, “#BreakNormalArtHack epitomises the spirit of the Desperados brand – having adventurous experiences at the edge of the boundary, through a fresh and innovative perspective that sparks curiosity and interest in our consumers.”