Art-fusion collaborations, if done right, come with a universal set of visual and emotional characteristics that are easy to identify with. For example, the ‘dotted’ art fusion between Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama can be experienced as playful and imaginative, yet elegant and sophisticated. On the other hand, the ‘pure’ art fusion between Toronto’s über hip furniture store Mjök and the Italian designer Luca Nichetto, or the French mineral water brand Evian’s “Eau Couture” bottles have been perceived as beautiful and minimal, yet practical and sentimental. Belgian fashion designer Raf Simmons ‘rebel’ collaboration with Los Angeles-based artist Sterling Ruby could be characterized as disobedient, yet upscale.
In other words, the secret behind a successful art fusion is to effectively unite the emotional with its visual opposite and entwine each into an engaging story. Women, being so closely connected to the nature of storytelling, have proven to be the first to understand and engage, becoming relentless consumer champions of art-fusion collaborations. Certainly, seeing and experiencing a variety of contrasts is something women are comfortable with and even drawn to. It’s no wonder then that women have become art fusion’s early adopters.
As a result, women have also become targets for the majority of them. Whether it’s a matter of feeling or seeing, women have been able to distinguish and appreciate art fusion more readily than men, particularly the ones that stand out. Be it running shoes or a car collaboration, paradoxically targeted at men, it is women who tend to respond first, with great enthusiasm and readiness to buy in.
After all, art collaborations embody the universal yearnings for beauty, grace and imagination. Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby’s hand-painted bags and coats could easily dress women. Women could also outnumber men in purchasing the highly-priced, limited-edition Dom Pérignon Champagne “Balloon Venus’ collaboration with Jeff Koons, despite the lack of gender bias in its presentation.
The lesson learned? Brands targeting women should sit up and take note while brands targeting men should keep a watchful eye. The tide is turning on this marketing trend and with every tipping point, comes mass acceptance. Marketers of all kinds should remember a few important details.
FIRST, women aren’t just early adopters of art fusion, they are early ‘spreaders’. With their innate sense of ‘showing & telling ‘ women have been known to magically (aka virally) spread the word of collaborations that excite and interest them. Something even a high-budget advertising campaign could not outperform.
SECOND, women, as sophisticated and communicative as they are, have nurtured an ability to sense a successful art fusion when they see one. However the opposite holds equally true; they recognize run-of-a mill, half-hearted attempts easily, either passing on their critique to friends and followers or ignoring the attempt all together.
THIRD, in each art-fusion collaboration, every detail counts, visible or not. Just as in a good story, it’s about what’s not being said, rather than about what is. Art-fusion is about storytelling, which is something women tend to navigate towards, and enjoy being seduced by.
And that’s what good marketing is all about isn’t it? Enjoyable seduction.
In our next post, we’ll be looking at the future of corporate sponsorships, or rather at the rise of ‘creative collaborations’. Until then.