Oct 23, 2008

This is Not a Tribute to Magritte!

It is very interesting to see how the relationship between art, marketing and advertising keeps evolving.

There was a time in advertising (in Argentina was between the 60's and the 70's) when the ones working in advertising where in fact, artists. Writers, pop artists, painters, you named it, most of them were involved with advertising because it was like a "second job" that in most cases was paying more than their job as an artist, or just because it was a job where they could be free to create and be paid for it.

Then advertising became more "professional" and titles as graphic designer and copywriter started to popup more as the required background to work in the industry. In some way it made all the sense in the world: while advertising uses many "arts" it has a goal that art per se does not have.

But lately, the industry is having a comeback to those roots and more and more advertising and art are intertwining. It is, no doubt, a win-win situation. To make things more interesting it is not anymore just about big, expensive campaigns counting with big, well-known artists. Check out this example from an Argentinian University (UCES): as part of their marketing/advertising efforts they organized a contest of "live statues".

To get the contest going, during a weekend in September one street was closed to the traffic for just one block in front of the university's headquarters and more than 30live statues were in the street -some were inside the UCES buildings- for people to enjoy the spectacle and to vote for the "best of" (categories being "classic" or "performing" statue).

It was in a centric part of the city and just one street of where I was staying so I went to take a look and I was surprised by all the attention they got. Normally I am not fond of live statues at all, but to see so many in just one block was an unusual spectacle. A large crowd gathered during the 3 hours -with kids and grown ups enjoying it equally-, and everyone was taking pictures (me included, of course.)

This is just a small part of what was available:



Fountain Lady (very real indeed)

One of my favorites, the "Gaucho"

The Justice Lady

... and my favorite overall: "Magritte"...

This last one was wearing the ribbon that you can see at the beginning of this posting with the sentence "Ceci n'est pas un hommage à Magritte" that is also the title of this posting.

How this spectacle was also marketing? Simple, people were handed fliers to vote for the best statue and while doing that they were asked some personal data. At the same time they were asked simple questions about this University (what degrees were offered, etc.) and because some of the statues were inside their building -as well as the voting place-, more people -specially neighbours- visit the place and became aware of all the degrees offered in their nearbies.

Prizes were given to the statues but also there were prizes for the voters, what encouraged people to fill out the form and vote.

Not an extremely expensive event, it gathered a lot of attention that was possible by making of it an "artistic event" even if we are talking working with not so well known street artists. A very interesting and successful event from the marketing point of view!

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