Partnerships at events like Art Basel and Miami Art Week provide brands of all kinds with a unique and authentic platform that gives them exposure to the art crowd and its growing legion of followers. In the February/March issue of Event Marketer, we take a closer look at Art Basel Miami, and how brand-sponsored events can benefit both the brand and the artist that partners with them. For now, a sneak peek at three different ways to approach an artist partnership, with examples and insights from Absolut, Nickelodeon and Heineken.
1. Empower an up-and-coming artist. For its event venue “Night Court,” Absolut, an associate sponsor of Art Basel Miami, partnered with Los Angeles-based sculptor Ry Rocklen who fully curated an art bar installation, from concept to entertainment. The Absolut Art Bureau, which manages the brand’s art initiatives worldwide, tapped its art community networks to select Rocklen.
“We always want to support artists that are maybe not as established,” says Ulrika Lövdahl, Global Art Manager, Absolut. “Ry is a super interesting young artist and he has already been successful with solo exhibitions and has some media profile, but hopefully as a brand we can help him gain more coverage, or open up ideas for him, or extend his network— maybe meet someone he wouldn’t have met—if not due to our partnership.”
2. Work with an artist who is already a brand fan. Nickelodeon brought its kids entertainment property SpongeBob Square Pants to the indie-style music festival Basel Castle and partnered with New York City-based L’Amour Supreme, an artist known for his 3D, street-style illustrations, on a mural and product line.
“It starts with these creators being huge fans of SpongeBob themselves; they’re fans of SpongeBob and that’s how we find out about them because they’re already creating unique pieces for themselves—this was the case with L’Amour, he was already painting SpongeBob,” says Andrea Fasulo, svp-retail and movie marketing at Nickelodeon. “It’s important to find the right partners who genuinely have a passion or a love for the property, because I think that comes out.”
3. Give local artists a platform for promotion. Heineken Light created for its Light Your Night program line-up the design competition “Shifting Perspectives,” featuring five finalist artists—Yuri Tuma, Juan Carlos Zaldivar, Clifton Chidree, Brandon Opalka and Kevin Arrow. They were given artistic rein to interpret the brand’s “Bounce” campaign for an evening gallery party and judging event.
“We provided some guard rails, but we really wanted the artists to focus on their creativity using different elements and imagery from the brand, not just logos; we really wanted their creative interpretations,” says Leanne Maciel, brand manager-Heineken sponsorships and events. “We saw how consumers engaged with it because it’s much more organic, something we’ve found to be successful in the past.”