Vox Pop: The best artist to market a brand

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Who is the best artist to market your brand?

Influencer marketing is a 21st century gold mine for reaching a modern audience, but is a tough technique to get right. Choosing the correct marketer for your brand is vital in sending the correct message, but what if there was no limit to who could be on your list?

The Wild Card campaign run by The Clearing and The School of Life over the last two months has proven to be fantastic stimulation for deep rooted discussion on brand's key issues; in order to bring forward the character of creative agencies, we decided to bring one of the questions to The Drum Network members.

We asked our Drum Network agency members "You can employ any artist, writer, musician, or film-maker to produce content for your brand – who would you choose and why?" Here's what they had to say:

Cat Leaver, head of strategy, After Digital

Wes Anderson! Every time. He has one of the most distinctive and visually indulgent styles of any film-maker/director. His ability to create mood and emotion through the sophisticated application of limited colours, symmetry and cinematography, while creating an engaging and often humorous narrative means almost everything he touches becomes a classic.

Kris J Boorman, digital marketing executive, Sagittarius

I thought I would need to have a long think about this… but then I remembered that James Cameron exists – it’s his ludicrous determination that makes me think that there's just no other option.

Here’s why: James Cameron does not **** around.

James Cameron personally made hundreds of little fake fish for his directorial debut, Piranha 2: The Spawning, because he had no budget. James Cameron made so many little fake fish, he got sick and had a fever dream about being chased through his hotel by an unstoppable robot. Then he made Terminator.

James Cameron nearly drowned Ed Harris while filming The Abyss. Harris punched him for it. James Cameron was just happy that he got the shot he needed.

James Cameron built a replica of the Titanic, just so he could sink it again for his film. And then he invented an entirely new camera system, because the camera system he wanted for Avatar did not exist.

I repeat: James Cameron does not **** around.

You want your content to be engaging? In 2009 there were news stories about filmgoers getting depressed because they couldn’t go to the planet in Avatar. You want your content to be made on time and under budget? James Cameron told his British crew that tea-time was “forbidden”, because Aliens was taking too long to film. You want your content to take advantage of new technologies? Pah. James Cameron will invent them.

Would I trust the man to make some Facebook videos? You’re damn right I would.

Simon Gill, chief creative officer, Isobar

Given such a scenario I’d draft in some of my heroes and give them a loose brief to tell a multimedia, 5D, multi-layered narrative about 'transforming people’s lives' and see what happens. You see, it’s all about experimentation and collaboration, and let’s think big – more festival or art spectacular than a single piece. Oh, and let’s face it you can fix anything in post, right!

First up I’d enlist the boss man supreme, one of the world’s most influential band leaders and all round crazy man, George Clinton. As leader of Parliament Funkadelic and the wider P-Funk family he’s put more politically charged, groove based magic into the world than probably anyone else. He’d think experience, soundtrack, visual spectacular and a story. George is also a master at making many artists work well together and with an ethos of ‘ain't nothing but a party’ what’s not to like?

To compliment or perhaps contrast I’d enlist the author and commentator Paul Morley to chronicle, guide and disrupt the creative process, and team him up with long-time collaborator Anne Dudley to ensure the ideas and arrangements are evocative and beautiful. How would it work with George Clinton? I think plenty would like to find out.

But I’ve not finished. We’ve got to get the artist Bill Drummond in there. Perhaps to drive the van, perhaps to argue with Morley or to play bass for George. I’m sure his presence would spice things up. He’s also an excellent writer who engages the reader with his entertaining flowing style, so the subsequent books would entertain and certainly keep the myth growing.

To finish it off, I’d like to include the artist Rachel Mclean, the formidable artist who bridges my older suggestions with a new digital sensibility. Her work is surprising and disturbing – described as “a mix of high art and popular culture, advanced technology and traditional theatre, humour and serious enquiry, her work is exacting and engaging.” She’d challenge and compliment, and I predict a frightening re-envisioning of Sir Nose D’void of Funk, aka Gruad Greyface. Which would be a neat connection to George Clinton and Bill Drummond. Which makes me think we should definitely open in Atlantis.

Ed Phillips, senior art director, Connect Group

In short, Elvis, because he's the king. However, it's not quite as simple as that, is it?

Your target audience will influence the kind of artist or music you can commission in order to maximise the investment and impact. Can you imagine Stormzy spitting his oh-so-cool and edgy lyrics over a TV spot for Tena Lady or Michael Buble crooning some sickly-sweet ballad on the new Coke Zero viral campaign? They just wouldn’t resonate with the intended viewer.

However, contrast and contradiction has its place. Consider the madness of featuring a brutal Finnish death metal band in a promotion for cough drops. Well, that actually happened and it was great.

And then there’s silence. I remember seeing the near silent three minute Ronseal TV advert of a man painting a fence. The contrast to the brash and shouty ads that it fell between meant it grabbed my attention. And that’s the key. Think about your audience and how to steal their time, make sure your choice fights for their attention.

Beware though, congratulating yourself for pinning down London Grammar to inject coolness onto your perfume or Take That to sell a multi-buy supermarket offer can be expensive and ineffective. Audio associations can work against you. In our house, hearing the first few bars of ‘let it shine’ means it’s time to have a flick around the less travelled TV channels for 30 seconds.

I'd still go with The King though. ‘Introducing the new face of M&Ms… Elvis Pretzel?

Jules Griffith, marketing and operations Director, The Clearing

British born graphic artist Patrick Thomas is a studio favourite. He explores typography by walking through Berlin, collecting bits of type. It would be a breath of graphic fresh air if we collaborated with him – crafted, engineered, technical lettering. And a bit of fun.

The other person we'd love to work with is Mr Bingo, who describes himself as an art-punk provocateur illustrator... we reckon he'd be good for a political party that needed a bit of an edge.

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