So the parties are over, the clubs (excluding Pacha of course) are closed and the hordes of workers who’d been employed as street promotion teams are onto the next destination (or missed their flights and are still partying at the Circo Loco after-after party). But a quick scout around Ibiza town or Playa d’en Bossa shows plenty of evidence of their valiant efforts throughout the summer, via the thousands and thousands of promo stickers still adorning the back of cars. The island’s residents are quite divided over the car sticker issue. I have to say, I kind of like it.
It’s a guerrilla marketing technique I have never seen used so… well… aggressively anywhere else in the world and it’s a genius way to get your brand seen all over the island, without having to invest in billboards or newspaper advertisements. On the other hand, it is also illegal. I should know – once, when I was a PR girl for We Love at Space, I got caught by an undercover policeman as I was foolishly doing it in the light of day, thinking anyone and everyone would be thrilled to come back to their car and receive my little ‘gift’. He let me off with a warning – but he did take all my stickers.
This is probably why you never actually see the sticker crews out on the streets, plastering their brands on vehicles. It’s done in the dead of night, under the cover of darkness. Or it’s done on the private property of the club’s car park – where the assumption would be, if you’ve driven there on any given night, you’re interested in the product they’re promoting. While clubbers and ex-clubbers aren’t all that bothered to find a new sticker or six on their coche when they head out to work in the morning (if it’s a party or DJ you don’t like, simply peel it off – if it’s someone you like, bonus!), it’s local business owners, parents and those with shiny new cars who have a problem with the sticker mafia.
They want their property to be respected – especially if it is not in a ‘club zone’ like Playa d’en Bossa or Marina Botafoch – and while they are within their rights to feel this way, there’s not much they can do about it. Some say you are more likely to be pulled over by the Guardia Civil if your car is covered in stickers – I say if you’re getting behind the wheel, what have you got to hide? Others say they don’t want their peers (or other mums on the school run) to think they’ve come straight from a nightclub – I say who cares what anyone else thinks? And yet then there are those for whom stickers are like badges of honour. The more you have, the more you want. Your car is like a battlezone, each sticker a medal, a testament to your party spirit.
There is an unwritten rule that promo teams don’t put stickers on hire cars – most likely because the companies would denounce them each time they got a vehicle back from a rental and had to spend the extra 30 seconds peeling off a sticker. Such is the work ethic here in Ibiza at times. There’s also an urban myth that if you park your car the wrong way round in the street, it’s the local symbol for not wanting to be stickered. Seems like an awful lot of effort to go to (have you ever tried to do a 180-degree turn in Ibiza town in August for a parking spot?) just to avoid a little round promo button! Promo team members will tell you people on the streets beg them for stickers on their cars. Crafty club owners definitely know people want them – you’ll see the same stickers in the shops for a fiver (and no fear of excess luggage charges with those kinds of souvenirs or gifts)!
There are countless Ibiza lovers who collect as many as they can and then go back to their home country and sticker up their cars trying to capture a little bit of that Ibiza magic in their daily lives. Love them or hate them, in 2015, promotional car stickers are a fact of Ibiza life – just like the vibrant clubbing billboards on the way out of the airport, the bumpy caminos with pink rock markers to help you find an after party at a villa, the 15€ spirits and 12€ beers and the inflated club entry prices. Most people would never tolerate any of that stuff in their normal lives… but here, it becomes part of a beloved memory. And who wants to be ‘normal’ anyway? Given that we residents are lucky enough to be able to call Ibiza home on a daily basis, I think we should embrace these little round sticky emblems of clubland as part of our culture. We don’t have to get up at 5am in the dark and freezing cold to catch the tube every day or come home to eat frozen dinners-for-one in front of the advertising-laden telly every night. We live in paradise, and if the price to pay is stashing a little tea tree oil or acetone in your glovebox for if or when you need to remove an offending sticker, well aren’t we lucky?