For artists and brands alike, engaging in art-fusion collaborations has become the new norm. But still, well-executed collaborations are a phenomenon consumers can’t seem to get enough of. After all, they can breathe life into brands, give voice to artists, and at the same time, infuse our everyday lives with beauty and meaning that nourish our deeper longings. Which brings one to wonder, why have there have been so few ‘Made in Canada’ art-fusion collaborations?
At Arts & Labour, while cheering as much for Canadian artists as for Canadian brands, we wanted to provide some interesting facts for brand directors to consider when planning their next branding campaign. May this win them over? Our fingers remain crossed.
5. Art-fusion builds social media & blogger talk-value.
A compelling art-fusion collaboration can easily outpace the awareness and buzz-value generated by a multi-million dollar advertising campaign. But ultimately, it comes down to a simple, old-fashioned principle: people talk when there’s something worth talking about. Social media is nothing more than word-of-mouth. In other words, creating art-fusion that’s socially, culturally, as well as aesthetically relevant is what it takes to turn the social media taps on. We can still hear the buzz created by Jeff Koons’ limited edition Balloon Dog handbag developed in collaboration with H&M last summer.
4. Art-fusion expands beyond the traditional model of advertising.
The beauty of art fusion is that both the artist and the brand are creating something of value and relevance to society, while the marketing benefit is simply a byproduct of the inherent interest the union creates. A well-engineered art-fusion collaboration can even surpass the most exhilarating and innovative advertising campaign. The most recent collaboration between German sporting brand Adidas and West Hollywood art gallery HVW8’s two inspiring minds Kevin Lyons and Jean André. The resulting work, All Day I Dream About Stripes, challenged every product launch strategy rule there is. Instead of a traditional storeroom launch of the four new shoes, the kick off took a place as a part of a show at the HVW8 art gallery, followed by a series of international events, including an installation at the Art Basel in Miami and a few pop-up gallery shows across Europe. Only after fully indulging the art crowds, the collaboration has become available for purchase at regular retailers, now dripping with integrity and ‘must-have’ credibility. The success of All Day I Dream About Stripes has been based on providing a design-savvy, sophisticated audience with equally sophisticated products, presented in a very sophisticated way.
3. Art-fusion increases desire and reduces the need to sell.
A few brands have built their reputations on creating irresistible art-fusion collaborations in small numbers – which in return have garnered enormous desire and high-demand. It’s a simple equation really; the more irresistible an art-fusion product is, the more desire it generates on its own, requiring less traditional marketing to ‘sell’ it to consumers. The Cambridge Satchel Company with its capsule collections has become a prime example of an overnight brand phenomenon celebrated just for that.
2. Art-fusion reaches new and wider audiences.
While art has always played the role of visual philosopher to stimulate thought, beliefs and emotion in our culture, art fusion is able to spread the experience of art more broadly, reaching a larger, more mainstream audience and imbuing everyday life with the art experience. The French luxury brand Louis Vuitton’s collaborations have been continuously zeroing in on new markets. Be it in the Asian or Russian market, Louis Vuitton with its playful, yet sophisticated approach to art collaborations has become the role model for many brands to follow. Last year’s collaboration with the six ‘iconoclasts’ interpreting the now iconic ‘LV’ Monogram has confirmed Louis Vuitton as the world’s most widely recognized and desired global luxury brand.
1. Art-fusion infuses a brand with innovation and originality.
For many brands, good product design brings innovation, product differentiation and meaningful consumer involvement. But design alone does not offer an emotionally transformative experience. Innovative art fusion brings newsiness and talk-value, creates a feeling of excitement and generates genuine interest. For Converse, the century-old shoemaker, originality and relevance go hand-in-hand with tradition. Creating art-fusion collaborations with culturally and politically engaged artists has helped Converse to be identified as the ‘rebel’ brand and to remain relevant and ‘cool’ to this day. No small feat.
In our next post, we’ll shine a spotlight the most striking art-fusion collaborations of 2014. See you then.