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A brush by brush account of the hand painted Microsoft Surface campaign by Colossal Media

Eleven walls and multiple hand paint productions—all with less than a month turn around time. This was the task to be completed by Colossal for an unidentified client. The suspense was high. Not until the art was delivered and the production commenced was Colossal informed that the client was Microsoft for the soon-to-launch Surface Windows RT-powered tablet.

The art was simple yet powerful. Colossal first painted unbranded boxes. This initial hand paint production elicited curiosity from passersby. A few days later, the word Surface was painted in the first box of all walls. With just the word Surface painted, consumers paused and took notice of the street art that lacked the usual advertising message. Finally, Colossal returned to the walls and painted a keyboard within the second box. The messaging was complete, but still with no tag line or copy. Microsoft truly embraced an artistic approach to driving awareness for the Surface tablet.

The following pages capture the artisanal spirit of the campaign and the journey of the Colossal crew who worked on the project.

“I love this idea of advertisement. Microsoft is expressing a clean start with Windows 8 and WP8. I think it’s refreshing and definitely will catch the eyes of any pedestrian. Grade A for efort Microsoft”—Eli_thegr8 THEVERGE.COM Microsoft Surface street art ads appear in New York. Aug 23, 2012. 174 coments, 658 tweets, 372 Likes

“I like the purple one especially. It reminds me of the painted ads you’d get in Victorian times painted onto the sides of buildings. Much nicer than a billboard. I do hope it washes of okay, though.”—Wowser


Geekwire Microsoft Surface street art in New York: Pricing next? Aug 24, 2012


CNET Microsoft Surface street art ads pop up in NYC Aug 24, 2012


PC Magazine Microsoft Surface street art appears in NYC August 24, 2012


Softpedia Yet another Microsoft Surface Street Ad September 14, 2012


“Chicago drivers are not to be messed with. I was painting the wall on North Damen when I heard a maniac revving up his diesel Volkswagen. I noticed pretty quickly that this guy either didn’t see me or didn’t care so I barrel rolled with my paintbrush brush out of his way. He didn’t hit me or my paint bucket so I ate a braut and called it a day.”

“The limited branding definitely had the efect of drawing people in to check out the art. I had the chance to talk about the texturing I was doing with a local artist. She took a few pics of the wall and then took down my number -Score!�

“Painting the same location three times really kept the campaign fresh. You could see the same faces walking by for each new phase. This one old hippy in LA kept asking me if the keyboard I painted actually worked. I told him, ’Only if you have the password.’”

“Miami was a trip because we lost most of the first day to thunderstorms. We had to get up mad early on the last day, bang out the final touches, and haul ass down the freeway in the rental truck, straight to airport. I was covered in pink and blue paint with no time to change before the flight so the stewardess made me sit on a poncho. At least the grandma sitting on my right bought me a rum and Coke.�

“Replicating the original brick background of the wall was a cool challenge. Creative campaigns like this one are what keep my job interesting. That and spending most of my day strapped to a rig 60 feet above the sidewalk.�

“Having 7 walls go up in one day in New York was intense. I started the day climbing up a 40 ft ladder at dawn in Brooklyn and finished the night on a lift in Tribeca. Just like Jay-Z, right? Haha.�



This book was produced by Colossal Media for Microsoft. All content Š2012 and may not be reproduced without permission. Agencies Starcom MediaVest Group, Pastilla Studio & Wunderman All locations were part of Colossal’s permanent inventory and were painted in-house by Colossal Media. Colossal Media is the largest hand paint mural and outdoor advertising company in the United States. We hand paint large-scale photorealistic murals, art projects, advertising campaigns and more in New York City and 18 other major markets with an eficiency and precision that is unmatched. COLOSSAL MEDIA 176 North 9th st Brooklyn, NY 11211 718.858.0979

Beneath the surface  

A brush by brush acount of the recent Surface hand paint campaign by Colossal Media

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