Tiger Beer ‘Air ink’ / Marcel Sydney
Air Ink is the brainchild of Anirudh Sharma, founder of Graviky Labs, an Indian start-up. Having grown up subject to air pollution in India, Sharma pondered how to turn this problem into something useful. Air Ink is ink created from collecting air pollution using a Kaalink device, another product developed by Graviky Labs, which captures soot and outgoing pollutants from exhaust pipes to be processed into Air Ink. Teaming up with Tiger Beer, Air Ink was distributed to artists around the globe to be used in creating beautiful and inspirational street art, testing Anirudh’s musing: ‘What if we could use the ugliness in the air to make our streets more beautiful?’
The ink used for the 2017 campaign was gathered from vehicles, chimneys and test trucks during a trial of Air Ink in Hong Kong in 2016. Air Ink has since created markers and screen-printing ink through collecting soot which is purified and then blended with solvents. One marker pen is made from approximately 40-50 minutes of diesel car pollution. By teaming up with Tiger in this latest campaign, the technology company hopes to inspire cities to undertake their own pilot program to help reduce air pollution. According to Air ink, if its Kaalink devices were attached to all London black cabs it could reduce particulate emissions by 10-15%. The devices can also be adapted to fit larger vessels such as boats and cranes.
With the help of agency Marcel Sydney, Tiger installed a series of artworks across major cities including one on London’s Shaftsbury Avenue featuring an artwork created purely using Air Ink. The imagery is both attractive and informative. The elaborate piece depicts an exhaust pipe, the fumes of which flow into a design that incorporates London landmarks, which in turn flow into the profile of a ferocious tiger.
The brand has also opened the Clean Air gallery in Brixton which will display work made by artists from some of the UK’s most polluted cities using Air Ink. Another Clean Air gallery will pop up in New York’s Senaspace Gallery, with the campaign set to also roll out to Berlin and Singapore.
The campaign fits into the brand’s wider ‘Uncage’ initiative which has focused on introducing fans of the Asian beer to a series of young, boundary-pushing, Asian individuals who have uncaged their potential. Much like its wild cat namesake, Tiger has always positioned itself as a bold, courageous and gracious brand. The brand’s first ever TV ad, aired way back in 1973, where a group of Tiger-drinkers were left unfazed by an earthquake unfolding around them, is illustrative of this.
In the present day, Tiger continues to inspire people by creating portraits of outstanding individuals from different cultures, such as Air Ink’s founder, and projecting these out to the world for all to see. In this campaign, not only does the company draw attention to the growing problem of air pollution that affects people across the globe, but also encourages young people to be creative, be innovative and be bold. Through the ‘Uncaged’ campaign Tiger suggests these attributes can be the key to bringing positive change to the world and its partnership with Air Ink is just one example of this.
Despite the loose link between beer and fighting air pollution, Tiger has cleverly smoothed over this fact by focusing not on its products but on its brand, making itself fit for the cause by highlighting the boundary-pushing element of Air Ink’s invention, a trait that complements Tiger’s namesake: the bold feline that stands out from the crowd. The campaign also works well by linking the street art enabled by Air Ink, with Tiger, a drink enjoyed on the streets of Asia. The Air Ink campaign will likely be successful for Tiger as it has intelligently promoted itself as a trendy brand with a conscience, something that will appeal to many spending millennials. As Charles Littlefield of Tiger Beer parent Heineken said, “It’s our responsibility as a global brand to provide a platform for issues that affect us all.”