Advertising is the language of our culture that has been able to infiltrate every facet of our lives. One just has to ask themselves of the difference between these three cars despite most have never probably driven them to know that advertising has infiltrated more then just our needs: Volvo (safe). Porsche (fast). Jeep (rugged).
Advertising has been able to communicate these ideas not only because we are constantly bombarded by corporate propaganda whenever we leave our homes but also due to its direct form of communication, in particular through the choice of images, stylised words and how cleverly ideas can be communicated using the least amount of words possible.
A “Stop” sign is a perfect metaphor for a good advertisement as it does make people “Stop” and it is simple – it uses one word ‘Stop’. It doesn’t say “…Please, pretty please could you bring your motor vehicle to a stop, so that you are not moving at all” It is simple and straight to the point. Maurice Saatchi of London’s M & C Saatchi said “Simplicity is all. Simple Logic, simple arguments, simple visual images. If you can’t reduce your argument down to a few crisp words and phrases, there’s something wrong with your argument”.
Scratch My Nose saw that the most efficient and direct form of communication was through techniques used by advertising. SMN’s small but significant text based street artworks used this philosophy or, in the case when they hijacked posters, assisted fatigued copywriters work by paring down or adding words in order to match a much more important message to offset the original corporate message.
I LIKE SEX (2008)
The Scratch My Nose ‘I Like Sex’ pole poster series was a direct action work onto one of Sydney’s most absurd promotions for the ‘Kinky’ night at Arthouse nightclub in Sydney. On the original poster campaign the copy alluded to a lifestyle for young promiscuous men and women who aspire to be ‘minor celebrities’. Hundreds of these posters were wrapped around poles and in particular in the wealthy eastern suburbs of Sydney. SMN then hijacked the extensive pole poster campaign by adding other examples of what would be more interesting then sex. Most posters referenced out-spoken conservative characters from Australian television from a previous era. This then became a SMN campaign.
The original poster read:
‘I Like Sex But I Love Kinky’ – Arthouse Hotel.
Scratch My Nose versions read:
‘I Like Sex But I Love Rex Mossop.com’ – Scratch My Nose
‘I Like Sex But I Love X-Rated Paddlepop Lion Suits’ – Scratch My Nose
‘I Like Sex But I Love Don Lane’s Voltage Kneecaps’ – Scratch My Nose
‘I Like Sex But I Love Page 13 of Dick Smith’s Catalogue’ – Scratch My Nose
TRUTH STICKERS (1997)
The Truth Stickers in contrast to the earlier cut-up text style of Scratch My Nose earlier writings - in particular the ‘Tag Series’ (1990-95) - were the opposite in their approach. SMN wanted to present its ironic writings but with truthful statements - where sometimes the truth cuts through to the heart of the matter. These stickers were placed on the bare back of street signs not unlike how today’s young wannabee street artists place their gentrified stickers.
John Howard is a Prime Minister – Scratch My Nose
Tobacco Companies Still Make the Best Products – Scratch My Nose
Mickey Mouse is now a Collectable Tie – Scratch My Nose
Dawn French Speaks English – Scratch My Nose
Irvine Welsh Speaks French – Scratch My Nose
X POLE POSTERS (1996)
In the winter of 1996 Scratch My Nose presented their re-worked pole posters (see under Pole Posters ’96) on the streets of Sydney which lasted anywhere between 6 hrs to 2 weeks. Most of these posters were not removed by council workers or ‘do-gooder’ members of the public, but by pole poster companies themselves. (The irony of this story is that a SMN poster adorned the walls of the manager’s office of one of the poster companies).
A week later a white pole poster campaign just marked ‘X’ in black were stuck up on the streets of Sydney. Who or what this poster was promoting was unknown or if the following week the answer would be revealed through this very tired and overused form of advertising. SMN reacted quickly to this poster by culture jamming 100’s of these pole posters with an Artline 100 marker in hand to create their own campaign -redemption of sorts for the quick removal of the pole posters lost the previous week.
SMN added to the possibilities of this poster ‘X’. The intention behind hijacking these posters were not about changing people’s eating habits or consumer freedoms or even seeking more humane, less dominated globalisation. SMN was playing around with the X-factor seen below.
X-Communicated from the Kiss Army – Scratch My Nose
X-Men play with Big Birds Ribcage – Scratch My Nose
X-File(d) Under Greg & Ian & Trevor Chappell’s Underarm B.O.– Scratch My Nose
X-Rated Toenail Clippings – Scratch My Nose
X-Marks Yellow Post-it $5.50 Notes – Scratch My Nose
X-Cuse Ian Dury’s Rhythm Stick as it Hits Me Hits Me Hits Me – Scratch My Nose
X-Ray Lillee and Thommo’s Wristband – Scratch My Nose
X-Factor is having Green Muppet Fur – Scratch My Nose
X-Change Spastic Rusting in Corner – Scratch My Nose
X-Generation Has Venereal Disease – Scratch My Nose
X-Press Pythagoras Theory with an Incredible Beer Fart – Scratch My Nose
X- Crunchy Dwarf Packet – Scratch My Nose
X-Cite Tex Perkins Paste Yoga All-Star Action Doll – Scratch My Nose
Note: The X poster series was to promote British band The Beloved 1996 album ‘X’.
BIG DAY OUT PROPOSAL (1997)
SMN proposed to use the large 1970’s digital noticeboard at the old Sydney Showground at Moore Park for the annual rock festival ‘The Big Day Out’. SMN planned to have ongoing conversation with the BDO audience using SMN humour. But after initial interest by the organisers, the proposal was scrapped.
Proposed signs included:
Rub Suncream on my Tonsils Please – Scratch My Nose
Hi Ernie – Can I Use Your Flipper – Scratch My Nose