Friday, 20 September 2013

2 reasons why innovators should pay more attention to Digital Art

So, Why art?

There two main reasons why artists are essential to anyone wanting to innovate:
First: artists are the quintessential experimenters of contemporary society
Second:  contemporary artists work creatively with the tools that digital agencies use to make their own offerings

Saying that artists are innovators may not be a surprising statement—and it shouldn’t be. Yet, if your interest is experiential marketing then your focus should be on the work digital artists—also labelled often as Relational or Inter-medial artists.

‘Wait, digital art? ...what is that exactly?’

Digital art refers to the work of contemporary artists, who work with any one kind of digital media platform or who are interested in creating inter-medial experiences, that is, experiences that come as a result of the combination of different elements in their work (for instance, video and performance, projections and sculpture, or robots and lights). These artists are constantly experimenting with one sole aim in mind: creating new experiences for spectators.

These experiences can be, for instance, full blown multi-media spectacles, as in the case of renowned performer Marie-Claude Pietragalla and her ‘3D immersive spectacle’: Mr et Mme Reve.

An even more impressive sample of innovation, way beyond his time, can be found in the work of artist Nam June Paik. His 1969 Electronic Opera, made through a combination of negative video images, dancers, a background of music—where a fourteenth century clavichord sets the mood—and vectorial movements—similar to the popular screensavers in the 90s—work all in complete synchrony to deliver a powerful experience of the senses and the mind: a topless dancer and three hippies have their images manipulated distorted, and saturated with additional color; Richard Nixon and other well-known figures are twisted up; Voiceovers issue commands to the audience: "This is participation TV."—this is an incomparably compelling experience with a clear message (albeit critical) to it!

Artists working with computers can be traced all the way back to John Whitney, who worked with outdated military computers in the 1950s and 1960s. His innovative work was pivotal in making the amazing credits sequences in Alfred Hitchock’s Vertigo, Northwest and Psycho! As reported on Rhizome ‘Whitney was hired to complete the seemingly impossible task of turning Bass’s complicated designs for Vertigo into moving pictures’.

Other, perhaps less known, although not a bit less interesting artists are Frederik Heyman and Keren Cytter just two name two guys that always come to my mind.  Heyman works with a combination of photography, graphic design, and video. 

Wonderful samples of his work can be found in his website or while

Keren Cytter 2011 Avalanche series of short films is a work that I truly enjoyed—it makes you laugh, think and reflect on many aspects of filmmaking and storytelling. The films play with time perception, with character roles and traits which appear as bizarrely inconsistent, there is no clear story line, and the atmosphere is purposefully sabotaged through the use of wrong props and incoherent settings, etc. Take a look at one Cytter’s wonderful short films here.

Written by Daniel Vargas Gómez

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

All you wanted to know about ‘Experiential Marketing’ but were 2 afraid to ask (Part II)

I have argued (see Part I below) that the key to experiential marketing lies in the way we understand the term experience. The term, I suggested, should be understood following 2 conditions:

1) A multi-level analysis, that is, an analysis where the different elements cannot be simply added and subtracted to each other, but associated as running parallel to each other, while maintaining a still tangible relation between to each other.

2) The projection of a sense of unity, which assumes the coherence of the elements collected, results in the construction of a cohesive structure, which is the network.

Just to keep things clear, the term ‘network’ is widely used today in relationship to social media networks, which are, no doubt, a type of network. When it comes to experience the concept however is owed to Bruno Latour and Actor Network Theory. It would be a long roundabout to go into the details of ANT, which forces me to continue rather to the way in which such form of analysis is applied to experiential marketing.

The question of experiential marketing cannot be taken as separate from experiential offerings. This means that producing marketing experiences is related to the task of rethinking an offering in terms of an experience.

From the side of an authentic experiential offering the key elements for the creation of an experience follow from addressing these questions:

·         What sensations are unique to your offering?

·         What reflections or ideas are unique to your offering?

·         What ideas do you want the consumer to associate with the offering at time of consumption?

·         What type of memorable experiences does your offering enable?

·         What other elements (products/services/persons) will help to enhance your consumer’s experience?

In a similar fashion addressing the following questions will allow you to construct marketing efforts that are truly experiential:

·         What concept better gathers the type of experience your offering gives consumers?

·         How can the experience of your offering be transformed so as to convey it through the various marketing channels available?

·         How can you use two or more of your marketing channels to deliver a more powerful experience of your offering?

·         How does knowledge about the elements that your consumer associates with your offering affect your messaging?

·         How can you use that same knowledge to promote your offering through the various channels? (e.g. create blogs, newsletters, infographics, etc)

The more comprehensive the answer to these questions is the more experiential your offering and your marketing will be. Answering these questions will, in turn, provide potent insights about your consumers’ attitude toward the experiential and, hence, will help you to better analyze and select the key performance indicators that drive your business.

 Written by Daniel Vargas Gómez