Five days ago, the Italian luxury brand Gucci surprised all of us with two incredible pieces of mural art for their Spring/Summer campaign spread half way across the world.
One mural, in New York City, was unveiled in the artsy neighborhood of Soho. The mural image features two women sporting the eyewear of the upcoming season. Meanwhiles the second mural, in Milan, Italy, can be found in Corso Garibaldi’s, one of the most iconic districts of the city for shopping and drinking coffee. Milan’s mural is deeply inspired by the masterpieces of the Dutch artists Hieronymus Bosch (The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1515) and Jan van Eyck (The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434). The design-genius behind both murals is Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal.
Ignasi Monreal Gucci mural piece in New York. Photo Credit: Vibzn
Eyecatching though it is, this form of marketing is nothing ground-breaking. In fact, Gucci already used Murals designed by Ignasi Monreal in these two exact locations for a fragrance campaign back in November, 2017. The confluence between art and branding really started back in the 60’s with Warhol’s iconic use of Campbell’s Soup can designs in his pop-art. Although originally used purely as a comment on the ubiquity of brand imagery, Warhol completely changed the playing ground of brand marketing. Today we have the partnering of corporations with artistic endeavours everywere, e.g. Adidas with the rapper Kanye West, which brought up Yezzy, the shoe of the moment. Or Ksubi’s parthership with rapper Travis Scott, which has relaunched the brand globally. It’s a lucrative partnership, and the signs clearly point in one direction that, brands of the 21st century will continue to reinforce the use of the urban and “street” artists as a way to market their products to their target demographics.
For our part, we feel Gucci was inspired by the renowned documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) which was directed by Banksy, the anonymous graffiti artist who showed how multiple urban artists became designers of clothing brands. Thus, in a cool twist of the usual top-down fashion pyramid, their art was also the propaganda for their street-wear. The biggest example in this movement would be OBEY clothing.
So, if anyone happens to be passing by Milan or New York in the next two months, make sure to check out the new murals created by Gucci. They won’t be there for long!
What do you think about street art as corporate branding? Is it marketing gone too far or a clever way to integrate art and community spaces with brand awareness?