The Living Brand As Artistic Patron

Art. The very definition of the term has been contested nearly as long as the concept itself. In the classical sense “Art” was the result of an artist creating something through their own conscious will without any other incentive to do so other than creating the work itself. While the purity of this concept is wonderfully idyllic—in practice great art is usually developed through a unique partnership between a cultural catalyst or patron and the person creating the work itself.

Great artistic patrons were larger than life—often defining the eras in which they lived. The early “cultured class” devised new ways to outdo one another by commissioning and acquiring gilded masses of raw earth and polychromatic canvases depicting their built universe in a “modern” manner, meant to evolve the way society viewed itself—as well as those that defined their ever-lasting image.

Fast forward to the early 20th century where great patrons still collected and commissioned notable works of art. Artists were superstars as ever-before, but their patrons shined just as bright in an equal light.

Consumer brands stepped in to underwrite early television programs, lending credibility to their products and seeking to project a brand-centric halo over a exciting and nascent medium. Brands themselves even turned into great museums—places like the General Electric and PepsiCo campuses in upstate New York contain art collections that rival many established institutions.

In our modern world that increasingly values unique and memorable visual moments more pressure than ever is on a brand to inspire, package and redefine the way they communicate.

Brands must enter the era of true artistic co-creation. They need to be comfortable allowing talented and symbiotic members of the artistic community to briefly become the brand in voice and image. In this new era the artist becomes an integral part of an ever-evolving and active brand voice.

Using this model, we imagined a lucid and borderline-halcyon universe where great eras in the history of the Lincoln brand were stylized and made relevant for a new generation of dreamers experience and make their own.

The most captivating way to get this message across to the right audience was to adopt the use of Cinemagraphs as the centerpiece of a recent campaign for Lincoln. Cinemagraphs were the perfect solution to capture a single moment in time but allow for each moment to truly “breathe.”

The social capital inherent in our Cinemagraphs had everything to do with the people involved in the co-creation and execution of the idea. Jamie Beck, Kevin Burg and Kelly Framel were brought in to not only refine the emotional elements of the final images but also offer insight into the specific social following they have that celebrate and elevate the perfectly-tailored elements of each Cinemagraph.

We wanted to ensure we showcased the raw emotions involved in not only spotting a classic Lincoln, but the dreams of those that drove them everyday. The beat poet who rediscovered a hand-me-down 1953 Lincoln Capri Convertible parked in an alley challenging convention. The lawyer who, while driving down the Taconic Parkway in a 1963 Lincoln Continental wanted nothing more than to  pull over in a field of dreams instead of the parking garage of their office tower in midtown Manhattan.

We captured specific emotions and had the end result live out on social channels that align with different parts of the way our target dreams and socializes. Each communication platform requires a different approach to maximize the amount of an emotional connections between the type of content and the personality of the viewer.

While the fully-animated Cinemagraphs lived on tumblr, a suite of other collateral lived on Facebook and Instagram. The still imagery on those platforms were artifacts from different portions of our original photo shoot and were designed to allow for a unique angle of discovery depending on where potential viewers came into our brand ecosystem.

The program was a smashing success. With over 16MM+ impressions on the larger social web, 2.4MM+ impressions alone on Instagram and 121K+ active interactions over the duration of the campaign on visual social mediums, we set a new social interaction benchmark for the brand.

By challenging convention and positioning Lincoln as a brand in evolution, a celebrated patron that intrinsically understands the tactile elements of a modern consumer, both in thought and in physicality, a new generation of culturally aware creators again have an amplified voice.