September 28th, 2011
05:20 AM GMT
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(CNN) – As fears of a euro meltdown continue apace, a guerrilla war of Post-it note art has broken out in office spaces across corporate Paris.

The first shot was fired four months ago, when employees at French computer gaming company  Ubisoft  – maker of the popular  "Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell"  and  "Ghost Recon"  game series – put up a Post-it note image from the 1980s classic “Space Invaders” on the window.

“We stuck Space Invader character on our window and the day after, BNP (Paribas), which is the largest bank in France, just across the way, they drew a Pac-Man,” Fabrice Cambonet of  Ubisoft told CNN.

La guerre des Post-it (the Post-it wars) was on.

Collages swept across office spaces in the business district of La Défense and companies in the Issy-les-Moulineaux area of the French capital. The art ranges from simple representations of Tweety Bird or Bart Simpson, to seven-story high illustrations that use thousands of Post-it notes and complex, computer-designed plans.

The  "war"  is being chronicled with pictures of the latest salvos at postitwar.com.

Which brings up a sticky question:  how does management feel about employees using time and energy on elaborate projects like these?

“It's all positive basically because you get people from all around the company, people who don't know each other and get to know each other over the course of a few days,”  Ubisoft told CNN’s Jim Bittermann. “It's really good team building.”

Not all companies share that view. Management at a bank involved in the first skirmishes has now forbidden block note window clutter, no matter how artistic.

But a French sociologist sees it as a cry for connection, even in the era of Facebook, Twitter and other instantaneous communication.

“They desperately try to communicate with people surrounding them, whatever means that can be used to communicate,” Francois Dupuy told CNN. “And here in this case, it is impossible to communicate directly with your voice, because it's even impossible to open the windows – which means you can find something,  Post-its, just to create some communication with the people surrounding you.”

Filed under: BusinessQuest Means Business


soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. european

    The article isn't even remotely related to the euro, yet still the first sentence of this article is "As fears of a euro meltdown continue apace...". Seriously, CNN? The extremly exaggerated depiction of the debt crisis as omnipresent doomsday event for europe is just ridiculous.

    September 28, 2011 at 5:45 am |
  2. James

    Lol, too much time on their hands? I love the french work culture . 6 hours per day 5 days a week is amazing and at the same time they are more productive than most countries with 10 hours + work hours.

    September 28, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  3. Told you so

    In a world where everything seems to get more grim by the day, I welcome some light note like these kinds of articles.

    September 28, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  4. brooke

    that's pretty awesome! I feel like you'd never see anything like that here in Germany, they'd all be going on about wasting all the post it notes.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  5. hmmm

    Who pays for the post-it notes, I wonder? I thought the game plan was to reduce costs to my cost centre. Did I miss a memo? Hmmmmm..

    September 28, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  6. Olivier (Paris)

    Did Ubisoft really start this war? I remember seeing those post-it windows at a big media company in Paris, early March 2011.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  7. dotmafia

    very very cool stuff!

    September 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  8. Maxwell (Bulgaria)

    This form of communication, as simple as it may seem, is much more genuine and heartwarming than all the high-tech social networks combined. It reminds me of this movie "Babylon". The main point there was, even though language is not a barrier anymore, as it was in the myth of Babylon, we still don't understand each other, because we lost the ability to listen.

    It's kind of ironic actually. Who would have thought that in this technological era, when we have all the "tools" to be connected and be in touch, we will become more distant and alienated than ever before.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  9. CinJP

    Cheaper than therapy.
    Cheaper than an office party.
    This type of interaction should be encouraged.
    The companies can outline simple guidelines for having fun without ruining the professionalism of the work environment.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  10. Tauromaja

    I ABSOLUTELY <3 THIS! Aside from the fact that it could potentially be non-eco-friendly, this is really fabulous. How can you not smile at this?

    I wonder if they'd take requests? Someone do a Super Mario Bros scene!

    September 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  11. Fab

    It started with a war opposing Ubisoft in Montreuil (just near Paris) and the BNP guys.
    Then every company employing geeks started this war.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  12. Correspondent

    Dear Hmmm,

    The memo was written on a post it note.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  13. Acropolis

    Creativity has always been France's trademark. Interesting to see they now get inspiration from American cartoons, though.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:41 am |
  14. TFChina

    Great idea, what a sense of humour compare with the tedious office.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  15. Salahuddin Farishta

    I agree with the French Sociologists. People need connection with one another, we have list our civic and social capital as outlined by Robert Putnam in his book Bowling Alone. One of the missions of the Rugged Gent is to bring back the social club. Visit them at theruggedgent(dot)com

    October 2, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  16. swagga

    keep me posted

    October 2, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  17. Mohit (Mumbai)

    I will have to agree with @european, I was suprised to see the opening line probably the author should have used some positive lines. Only a Frenchman can confirm their working hours, I don't like people criticizing the work cultures of other countries. Also, I have grown up watching American Cartoons, from G.I.Joe to He-Man, so I believe they have a global audience rather than a specified boundary. I do agree with the creativity shown here, be it Absolut campaign, this one, simply amazing :) Thanks CNN for NOT asking me to register before I post any comments and plus why I am commenting on the comments rather than the article, so naive of me !!!!:)

    October 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  18. David

    Leave it to the French to introduce public art to the business world in another way. Coworkers creating something they take pride in, representing their company. No wonder it would never happen in the US, how can you take pride in your CEO getting sacked and leaving with a $25M settlement, while your wages are frozen as you wait for the next round of layoffs....

    October 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  19. Andyvon

    This isn't very surprising for Europe. It sounds much like the things we did when I was employed as a graphic designer at my local county council here in the UK.

    Several offices used to spend all afternoon making different designs of paper aircraft and seeing how far they woulf fly from the tower block! Many of us would spend all afternoon playing Battleships and Hangman on the conference phones and we played Car Snooker with the cars going round the roundabout below. That was when we bothered to turn up! I worked at the council for five years but I never worked a 5-day week, nor did anyone else. We helped each other with our gardens or restoring and repairing our cars. I had a part-time chauffeur job and I would often be driving around London or driving a wedding car – while I should have been in the office at the council! When we did turn up at work we spent plenty of time in the local cinema, swimming pool or the local snooker hall!

    I don't think people in the US have such leisure time at work. Perhaps that's why they think this business with Post-It Notes is worth reporting. It's certainly the sort of thing we would have done.

    October 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  20. EurozoneOK

    I live in Paris & work at La Defense (while having worked in Manhattan)

    Frankly, we feel far from the euro meltdown described in american medias !!

    In terms of time, the 7 storey image was done during lunch time by several dozens of people. Nothing that can impact our companies which see that as team building efforts

    All positive !

    October 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  21. Newscrazy

    This is corporate fun. Why shouldnt people in offices get out of their stuffed jackets and unwind a bit.. and forget the looming financial mekltdown for a while. Isnt this thinking out of a box?

    October 3, 2011 at 1:50 am |
  22. SheWhoWonders101

    What ELSE is Europe gonna do?

    October 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  23. @hmmm

    The day post it stamps bankrupt a company, you'll know its armageddon.

    October 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  24. Derrick

    Nice art.

    October 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  25. anon

    @european LOL come on if CNN wasn't fear mongering they would have nothing to write about. The same goes for fox trying to convince you that Obama was the antichrist. CNN and FOX and a bunch of the other major outlets are not news outlets at all. They are media companies hired to promote specific agenda's in order to increase their bottom line. On nother note though those Post-it pictures were awesome.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  26. biniam

    1) How the world Economy is moving today
    2) Do you think the previous policies can solve the current problems? If no how would you suggest it can be adjusted?
    3) What made the world Economy go towards crisis? Where the giver reasons enough?
    4) What do you think is lost now? Money, Confidence, correcting policies...Where do you think this all are?
    5) Do you believe fair trade could be created if the hard times are passed?
    6) Do you think technology to have great effect on the laying off workers? If not what do you think technology has effect on?
    7) Which would you choose between Capitalism and modern Socialism?
    8) Why do you think Consumers buying habit always increases while working habit goes down?
    9) Give your comment about how to save the world concerning current Economy and Political Conditions?
    10) Do you believe better times would come regarding the world economy? Only Yes or No

    December 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  27. biniam

    1) How the world Economy is moving today
    2) Do you think the previous policies can solve the current problems? If no how would you suggest it can be adjusted?
    3) What made the world Economy go towards crisis? Are the given reasons enough?
    4) What do you think is lost now? Money, Confidence, correcting policies...Where do you think this all are?
    5) Do you believe fair trade could be created if the hard times passed away?
    6) Do you think technology to have great effect on the laying off workers? If not what do you think technology has effect on?
    7) Which would you choose between Capitalism and modern Socialism?
    8) Why do you think Consumers buying habit always increases while working habit goes down?
    9) Give your comment about how to save the world concerning current Economy and Political Conditions?
    10) Do you believe better times would come regarding the world economy? Only Yes or No

    December 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  28. biniam

    give your answers to my email trul3yo@yahoo.com

    December 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  29. biniam

    Economy
    1) How the world Economy is moving today
    2) Do you think the previous policies can solve the current problems? If no how would you suggest it can be adjusted?
    3) What made the world Economy go towards crisis? Are the given reasons enough?
    4) What do you think is lost now? Money, Confidence, correcting policies...Where do you think this all are?
    5) Do you believe fair trade could be created if the hard times passed away?
    6) Do you think technology to have great effect on the laying off workers? If not what do you think technology has effect on?
    7) Which would you choose between Capitalism and modern Socialism?
    8) Why do you think Consumers buying habit always increases while working habit goes down?
    9) Give your comment about how to save the world concerning current Economy and Political Conditions?
    10) Do you believe better times would come regarding the world economy? Only Yes or No
    11. Do you think disintegration among countries could be the cause for the failure of the European crisis and affected the currency Euro?
    12. Do you think the UK would gain or negatively affected if Euro will not be saved?
    13. What options do you think is hidden to Europe?

    December 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  30. biniam

    11. Do you think disintegration among countries could be the cause for the European crisis and affected the currency Euro?
    12. Do you think the UK would gain or negatively affected if Euro will not be saved?
    13. What options do you think is hidden to Europe?

    December 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  31. John from LA

    1. CNN: Thank you for sharing these interesting cross-cultural artistic expressions. I hope you continue to seek out, import and share positive concepts from abroad.

    2. French citizens: The cooperation between employees and management that was necessary to produce the happy, non-commercial art for the enjoyment of the public is exemplary. I noticed the managers who were interviewed wore relaxed clothing in the office. What a contrast to the companies my spouse and I worked for here in California where almost everyone wore uptight, pretentious attire. Recently I have noted that the salary and bonuses of your French managers, in relation to the income of lower management and professional staff, appears to be relatively fair and reasonable. This is quite a contrast to the massive disparity in the USA, where many professionals work an extra 10 to 30 or more unpaid hours per week out of professional pride and/or the executive's policy to keep the offices understaffed in order to justify their excessive salaries and bonuses. No one should need more than a million dollars income per year (OK, maybe 2 million if they have a serious cocaine or other addiction). Now I better understand why our two Peugeots were designed and manufactured to such high standards. I hope you can continue living fulfilling and creative lives.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:52 am |
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