The Art of Bold Retail Brand Gestures

retail brand agency

Leveraging the Brand Magic of Art.
For many brands, especially those who are business to consumer/customer brands, the great challenge is to creatively engage with your audience.

Specialist branding agencies like us at Truly Deeply provide this very skill set of creating memorable and engaging brand expressions for businesses, but not every organization has the budget, imagination in-house, or  a talented bunch of brand folk like us at the end of the phone. For those brands, it’s worth considering whether there are opportunities already in the market just waiting to be leveraged.

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Unwanted Visitor: Portrait of Wildfire‘ is an art installation created by the very talented Herb Williams.

The notable thing about Herb’s work from a brand communications perspective is that it is made-of hundreds of thousands of crayons. Herb apparently has an account with Crayola (kinda makes alot of sense), his crayon brand of choice.

When creating a piece like this one, Herb orders each colour of crayon necessary from the range, and they come individually packaged, 3,000 crayons to a case. Herb Williams says hes “is interested in identifying objects that society perceives to associate with one role, and reintroduces them into different subtexts”. His most recent work is ‘Unwanted Visitor: Portrait of Wildfire‘, an outdoor installation on display at the National Ranching Heritage Centre in Lubbock, Texas represents five free standing sculptures which emulate fires and flames – reminiscent of a wildfire. Each of the pieces is composed of crayola crayons. because of their wax content, they begin to melt and change shape in the unpredictable outdoor conditions in which they stand. Their transformation is affected by blowing wind and dry conditions, much like those that affect the intensity and duration of real wildfire.

Being someone who sees the world through brand coloured glasses, I don’t see Herb as a great customer for the Crayola company, I see him as a great ambassador for the Crayola brand, providing a great canvas for brand story telling.

Art has always been a great engager. When brands associate with art in a manner that is authentic to the artist and the art form, they can discover a wonderful connector to their target market – unlike anything they are able to achieve in a traditional, commercial brand communication context. Enjoying these wonderful images of Herb and his team at work creating the art piece, I’m left pondering the opportunity here for Crayola to become Herb’s patron, and for Herb to become a wonderful, artistic director of Crayola’s brand expressions. Imagine the media attraction, not to mention social mediability of a National Crayola Sculpture Contest, with Herb as the figurehead, recognized as the for-father of the art form.

Then step back and wonder, is there an artist somewhere in the world, creating magical imagery with your product? This approach holds equal potential for small brands as well as big. Artists by nature are experimental, a quick Google turned-up artists creating in chocolate, butter, cheese, vegetables, fruit, coffee, even toast with Marmite – and that was just some of the food options. What creative gestures may already exist in the world, just waiting for you to connect your products and your brand to their art form?

Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
Brand Designer
, Artist & Huge fan of toast & Marmite art
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Images courtesy of and ©Ashton Thornhill
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