Awhile back the art world got a bad rap when a toilet somehow found its way into the Tait Museum of Art in London. What began as a joke for Marcel Duchamp and his dry sense of humor in 1917 would quickly become the trailblazing piece for the modern art scene, recognized in a Telegraph article as the single most influential Modernist piece in the twentieth century.
Modern Art Takes Off
After Duchamp’s piece made such a splash throughout the creative community and re-defined modern ‘art,’ a flood of entries and exhibits began to pop up in galleries and museums across the globe that featured similar work that would have previously been thought of as ridiculous by critics everywhere. A blank canvas painted in maroon, a blank canvas painted in black, and a blank canvas painted in blue with a white line running down the middle are just a few examples of simplistic pieces that have received enormous praise and price tags (sold for $1.1 million, $2.7 million and $43.8 million respectively). Stories like these have further widened the rift between the creative community and the rest of society; two groups that already have a difficult time understanding one another. The columnist Tim Keider attests to this ever growing reality when he muses, “They (non-artists) figure we must be flattered to have someone ask us to do our little thing we already do.”
The Times Are a Changin’
One of the ways that these two distinct worlds have found common ground is through the world of advertising in recent years. With the advancement of digital software like illustrator, InDesign and other Adobe programs, artists have the freedom to create whatever they choose and alter it to fit the needs of a client and their objectives for a campaign. Advertisers are marketing "products and services seeking to reach consumers in their 20s and 30s who are already making art part of their lives," rather than trying to simply produce content in a more traditional style that connects with older generations of consumers. They are also recognizing that consumers and online users gravitate towards visual content and are more apt to share original media that resists traditionalism and resonates with them on a deeper level than the cheesy, regurgitated content that has been typically associated with the advertising industry.
A great example of this incorporation of art into marketing is Lincoln's recent sponsorship of "The Plate," a campaign that features Hispanic artist Carlos Amorales, chef Richard Sandoval and others to 'share in our vision of reimagination' as they celebrated their 90 year legacy last year.
What the Emerging Generations Expect from the Advertising Community
Art, which has typically been associated with distinct ideas and the commitment to communicating those ideas in an intentional, aesthetically pleasing manner, is a perfect model for how to successfully market to younger generations of consumers. For example, the much coveted millennial generation is a group that has valued new ideas and original content that they actually want to broadcast and share over social media and other online channels. They resist traditionalism and are turned off by messages that don’t delve into subjects beyond the product, service or company that happens to be producing the content.
We’ve come a long way since an English urinal transformed the art scene, and continue to play with the definition and relevancy of art in today’s society. Creating art is bold, risky and poignant as any artist can attest to. However, one thing is for sure: the brands that risk, win.