It’s the marmite of the French business world: some walk into the office and cry ‘Mais c’est moche!’ ('But it's ugly!') at the sight of giant Post-it murals on their windows, whilst others have seized the opportunity to bring extra publicity to their company. In any case, unused Post-its have been hard to come by in the French working world for a good few months now.
Le JDD branded it ‘l’addiction de l’été’: it all started in Montreuil where a bunch of Ubisoft employees decorated their windows with Post-it aliens and, across the way, BNP Paribas retaliated with a Space Invaders-style canon. Over the summer, the war escalated and spread into and around Paris until it became something of a real-life viral – photos were taken of the impromptu Post-it 'art', uploaded online, compared, criticised and admired, the craze soon had its own website and by the end of the summer, the craze had reached the Anglo-Saxon press (e.g. The Guardian, The Huffington Post).
These gaudy and childlike designs have a humanising effect on the more characterless of the business and finance quarters in and around Paris, reminding passers-by that these seemingly sterile structures of metal and glass teem with thousands of individuals, all quietly united by a sense of fun and a desire to procrastinate. Whilst there has been a vintage video-game theme to the majority of contributions, Post-it pacifists have veered away from 1980s aliens and towards a ‘n’importe quoi’ variety of subjects: you will see everything from giant DVDs to palm trees, Sponge Bob Squarepants to Marilyn Monroe jostling for position in the enormous office windows on the outskirts of Paris. As French Army general Pierre Bosquet said, faced with the Charge of the Light Brigade, ‘C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre: c'est de la folie’ (‘It is magnificent, but it is not war: it is madness’).
The long summer is just about over, there’s a palpable chill in the air and the Parisians are looking forward to strike season but the Post-it war wages on, new characters appearing daily in offices across town (and others being hastily dismantled at the request of bosses back from their holidays). The stationery cupboard carnage continues and we’re left wondering if there’ll be any self-adhesive note paper left to us in a post-Post-it-war Paris.