Hostile spray-over

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Many roll-down metal doors in Chongqing (and other cities across China) sport spraypainted stencils advertising, somewhat unsurprisingly, roll-down metal doors.

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Most advertisements manage to coexist upon the same surface, just as inexplicably businesses all specializing in the same product or service all seem to cluster together on a block or street. Amiable co-existence is not a certainty, however, and the subtle modification to a competitor’s stencil confirms this. The original stencil on the left side (8680xx88) is possibly the contact information for the original installer of this door. Oftentimes it is an understanding between client and craftsman that the latter may leave some trace of himself and contact information on the output for the former. This (hopes the craftsman) will accelerate a service’s adoption throughout a neighborhood – one early adopter/investor in the service (such as metal door installation) may lead to its proliferation – particularly if spurred on by a particular event (such as a robbery in the community).

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Such concentrated success, no matter how localized, seldom goes unnoticed. In this case another metal door crafter/installer, perhaps randomly, or perhaps in a pre-meditated effort to grab some of the installer’s business for himself, has replaced his competitor’s contact information with his own.

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The original installer has no way of knowing that his advertising has been rendered ineffective, and this is why one will often see strategies resulting in interesting advertising patterns – the more copies of an advertisement, the harder it is to vandalize/negate their effect. Strength in numbers, after all. The above trio of doors are from Shenzhen – perhaps neighborhoods where those aspiring to carve out a slice of the roll-down metal door market are more persistent. Or desperate. Echoes of audio bars on a stereo, anyone?

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