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Monday Morning Memo for August 29, 2005

Art as a Tool of Marketing

Media fragmentation and the evolution of social values are forcing advertisers to spend more and more money to reach fewer and fewer people. Two weeks ago I mentioned the possibility of using non-traditional media (NTM) as a supplement to your advertising. One of the most effective forms of NTM today is Corporate Art.

Think of it as advertising, but of a permanent sort.

What are the landmarks in your town?

The faces on Mt. Rushmore were funded by the state of South Dakota to bring tourism and money to the state. It worked.

That famous hillside HOLLYWOOD sign was erected to sell lots in a 1920's Los Angeles subdivision. It worked.

America's most precious paintings of the romantic West were originally commissioned by railroads to be published in magazine ads and on calendars in an effort to stimulate travel by rail. It worked. Taos and Sedona and Santa Fe are thriving today because of the romantic glow of those ads.

In fact, many of our most important cultural icons began as corporate art: Cinderella's Castle at Disney World. The Chrysler Building in New York. Rockefeller Center. Times Square. Carnegie Hall. Each of these is architectural, corporate art.

Standing 76 feet tall, Tulsa's kitschy corporate art is the Golden Driller, a mammoth oilman with his hand atop a drilling rig, a gift to the city of Tulsa from Mid-Continent Supply Company in 1953. Having grown up there, I can tell you that no other icon is as deeply associated with the town. The Golden Driller's image is everywhere.

According to Wizard of Ads partner Sonja Howle, Corporate Art:

1. Communicates (A) your brand essence. (B) the core values of your company.
2. Stimulates employee pride.
3. Can be used repeatedly (A) to cut costs in ad production, (B) on calendars, invitations, thank-you cards, etc.
4. Triggers community recognition, opens a door for press coverage.
5. Offers tax benefits.
6. Appreciates as a corporate asset.
7. Establishes an ongoing legacy.

Does your company have something to say to the world that might be expressed in art?

We'll talk a little more about Corporate Art as a Tool of Marketing - as well as several other iterations of NTM - at the upcoming Academy Reunion and Open House on Oct. 15.

See you there.

Roy H. Williams


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