According to Denis Freedman, Creative Director of Barneys New York, “… collaboration is the basis of what we try to do, and we try to work with as many people in as many fields as possible. We always make clear it is a collaboration, something that we or they (the artists) would never do on our own, because it results in far more interesting work”. But Barneys remains ahead of the game. Along with the support of their own visual design team, Barneys partners with creative marketing consultancies whose specialty is managing art-fusion collaborations. From every project’s conception through to execution, they invest in a team to ensure the most exceptional outcome – be it a campaign, product or event.
Needless to say, a relatively inventive department store like Barney’s is much closer than its competitors to the prediction Andy Warhol made when he declared, “all department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores”. So far, only a very few number of stores have turned themselves into museums of style, culture and art. Dover Street Market with its locations in London, Tokyo and New York, and 10 Corso Como in Milan are the only shining examples, while a great many museums have started to rely on their gift shops as sources of revenue.
Indeed, transforming a department store into a museum or vice-versa, where one can feel truly stimulated and inspired to shop, takes a team of experts who are as knowledgeable as they are passionate about art, culture, design and retail. James B. Twitchell, the author and professor of English and Advertising at the University of Florida understands this only too well. By claiming that “art has become a central vocabulary for narratives now attached to fast-moving consumer goods”, he provides the retail industry with a rather challenging solution. One that’s no longer in the hands of business-minded retailers, but of innovative and imaginative creative collaboration consultancies. The emerging creative consultancies offer some things that neither brand managers nor advertising agencies can; discerning and ultra-current knowledge of the global art and design landscape, a roster of leading artists whose work not only lends itself well to brand collaborations but are amenable to them, a highly developed understanding of culture and style, and expertise in managing and nurturing potentially fragile artistic collaborations to their most successful ends.
Unlike Barneys, many brands (including Canadian ones) have not yet grasped the importance of having specialized creative collaboration consultants on board, and instead prefer to ‘DIY’. Is it possible that Canadian marketers aren’t thinking big enough for their brands? Could it be the reason we’re not experiencing at least a handful breathtaking art collaborations made in Canada?
Like Barney’s, brands will and have begun to grasp that navigating through the collaborative process and achieving the desired result is more complex than most are equipped to handle. For brands that understand the need to become or stay relevant by infusing their brand with art, they’ll be happy to know that delegating the collaborative process to creative teams of visual and cultural experts is not only the right step, but also the far easier one – be it their first or twenty-first project.
Are you curious about the creative experts who are shaping and transmitting art-fusion collaborations to the greater public? Please comment or contact us if you’d like more information. See you in our next post.