Tanya Wilson
Jun 25, 2019

Art and advertising: Even conservative brands can mix the two

Artvertising isn't just for sexy, young brands. Any company can give its audience the gift of good art, and reap the rewards of nurturing culture.

Art and advertising: Even conservative brands can mix the two

In today’s world of data-driven marketing solutions and product benefit-style advertising, it is inevitable that some of the “magic” which once was advertising is slowly disappearing. However, in the art world there is a whole range of exciting things going on, and of course there is a lot of subjectivity involved in working with artists, but there is certainly a lot of “magic” going on too. 

At The Unusual we are really interested in this crossover between art and commerce, and this article is to highlight some exciting projects going on, not only in marketing and visual communication, but in retail, events and experiential.

A common misconception is that only sexy brands with millennial audiences lend themselves to artvertising. We are seeing more and more conservative product categories commissioning good art.

For example, look at this animation for American Express created by plenty.tv in New York. 

Now what do we mean by magic? It’s that arresting imagery that compels people to look at it, spend time with it and appreciate it. Without it we are just adding more and more layers of banal messaging to an already saturated media space. 

Art may be sculptural, digital, animated or virtual, but give art to people as a gift, let them enjoy it. Let them respect you for nurturing creativity and culture, because your influence is bigger than you think.

Here's a few compelling examples:

Air Max Day: Historically Air Max has provided a great platform for Nike to engage artists in a creative playground leveraging the passion they have for the product. It has turned into an international community event and often engages artists to help them celebrate. We have been involved a few times now.


Gucci website: A great example of using art to appeal to an audience and engage them in a fresh way online. The website acts as a cookbook and art gallery, blurring the lines of content and winning several website awards along the way.


Delta x New York Times: New York Times T Studio redefined digital advertising with a beautifully illustrated story that depicts the airport of the future.


Gentle Monster: The South Korean eyewear company's retail stores are like contemporary art galleries, with the sunglasses displayed among sculptures and installations.


Netflix at Asia Pop: A crucial part of creating great art is the process. Prior to commissioning an artist, we always show the client examples of their past work, followed by sketch which can be tweaked a few times before moving on to final art. Sometimes the artistic process is as captivating as the final product and makes for great social-media content.


Tanya Wilson is co-founder of The Unusual Network, a global network of 1,000 creatives that includes graphic designers, illustrators, animators and street artists. The Unusual Network works with brands and government bodies to commission art that communicates a strong message. Their latest self-initiated projectEYEYAH!is an edutainment brand for children that uses art to nurture social-emotional development and creativity.

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