When art becomes edible

Faced with increased competition, brands have to be creative. And to do so, they no longer hesitate in turning to artists. Whether its for inspiration or collaborations with painters, sculptors and photographers…it’s where art meets the mass market.
A practice that is old hat
In 1911, a pasta factory in Genoble launched a competition with the greatest illustrators of the time with the aim of personalising its products. The painter Tancrète Synave wins the contest thanks to his blue and white checkerboard box…..thus creating the Lustucru identity. The checkerboard immediately became the symbol of the brand and it was even registered internationally.

In 1927, the chemist Paul Baudecroux created the brand ‘ Rouge Baiser ‘,
the first indelible lipstick, to withstand everything, "even kisses". Its visual identity was created in 1949 by the famous designer Rene Gruau. His drawings cement the symbol of the brand by confirming the brand’s ultra femininity and elegance, all with a French touch.

For its 80th anniversary, the brand reissued  its "Miss Authentic" lipstick in limited edition. The drawings are a tribute to the original artworks.
Artistic cooperation

Every year, the Duvel brand commissions artists to redesign its glasses. To the delight of Duvel fans and collectors alike, three new glasses are created every year. For the 2011 edition it was the two Belgian artists Arne Quinze and Daan, plus the Dutch artist Stefan Glerum participated and bought their versions of the glass.
The American contemporary artist Jeff Koons fetches the highest prices in the art world.  BMW, asked him to decorate it’s M3 model for the 2012 edition of the Le Mans 24 hour race.   The design was inspired by the breaking of the sound barrier,  the power of the engine, and the playfully entertaining universe of the artist.
Malongo coffee, is certified ‘Free Trade’ by Max Havelaar and is the category leader.
The brand is deeply involved with contemporary art, as their collaborations with the artists Ben and Laurent Dessupiou demonstrate. Ben, famous for his white text on black canvas, has given a personal twist on the coffee tin. Laurent, the painter, has created a collectable tin with a ‘traces of liberty’ theme.
The whisky brand Ballantines recently embarked on an advertising campaign called "Leave your mark".  that clearly refers to the world of art. According to the brand, ‘ contemporary art represents the values of independence, elegance and integrity that are similar to a premium product like Ballantine's". Four artists are promoted to highlight their versions of the whisky bottle.
Art, an inspiration for brands?
Some products, voluntarily or not, take their inspiration from works of art. This is the case of Darty that based its last advertising campaign on the works of Giuseppe Arcimboldo. This 16th century artist made portraits from plants,fruits, animals or other carefully placed objects. In this vein, Darty used three different portraits to represent three different departments, the kitchen, electrical goods and entertainment.

The Malibu campaign, Caribbean Creation also makes reference to this artist. Tropical fruits, spices and ginger roots, make for a particularly expressive face. But it’s not the only inspiration for the brand…..you can also find the influence of African masks, one of the most ubiquitous artistic manifestations on that continent.

San Marco coffees were directly inspired by ‘The Creation of Adam’ by Michaelangelo. It points to a shared culture, as the artist and brand are Italian.

Nestlé Group used Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Milkmaid’ painting, both visually and as a brand name. This painting is now directly linked with the brand.
Marc Jacobs released his new fragrance "Bang Bang", an updated version of  the original "Bang". When you look at the flasks designed by Harry Allen, it’s hard not to imagine the sculptures of Jeff Koons or Xavier Veilhan. The colourful and ultra- shiny style of the American fits well with the folded metal origami of the French artist.

Both were exhibited at Versailles in 2008 and 2009.
The world of art fills people with wonder and mass market brands have understood this. Hence, they are able to draw on the emotional impact generated by artists. It’s also a great way for consumers to have a certain proxity to works which appear remote.

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When art becomes edible