Post-it wars: the creative craze that swept New York's ad scene

The sticky note is the weapon of choice in NYC's creative battle zone.

Stop the press: the next ad medium has been discovered in the US. And it is (drum roll please) Post-it notes stuck on windows. Yes, that’s right.

The work inhabitants of New York’s Canal Street have entered the third week of the Great Post-it War of 2016. It started as a simple "hi" in a window. Those working in the office opposite decided to respond with "sup".

So began an increasingly competitive battle for artistic supremacy, with creations promoted on Twitter under "#canalnotes" and "#postitwar".

Companies taking part include Cake, Havas Worldwide, Horizon Media, Harrison and Star, Getty Images and Biolumina.

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, the Post-it brand sent more supplies when the troops began to run out of ammunition. The activity has been welcomed by Andrew Benett, global chief executive of Havas Worldwide.

War rooms

He argues that, as every aspect of adland has become increasingly intensive, the industry needs to take advantage of "release valves" wherever and whenever it can.

He also believes that the craze is indicative of a changed business environment because such a sustained prank, with senior management in "war rooms" plotting their next attack, would never have happened 20 years ago.

The importance of creativity

Benett says it reveals "the increasing casualness of each of the post-World War II generations. The baby boomers chafed against mindless conformity every bit as much as today’s millennials push back against regimented schedules." It also shows how companies across industries now recognise how vital creativity is to their sustained success.

"We all know that corporate agility is reliant not just on organisational flexibility but also on the nimble and innovative thinking of the talent who power the enterprise. That sort of thinking doesn’t come naturally in a buttoned-up environment," Benett adds. Let’s hope the war doesn’t end the way satirical site Adloids suggests.

Angered at seeing its agency do no work on its dime, a client delivers its own message in Post-it note form: "You’re fired."