“I Stopped Believing In Marketing. Now What?”

Frustration, office politics, bad briefs, and subsequent string of failures. A virtual trip to Rome might help. Because the Romans were very good at marketing.

Alexander The Great Fighting Persian King Darius. [Roman copy]
Hadrianus, Markus Aurelious, Augustus – these three Caesars were very good marketers. they spread their statues and paintings all around the empire (which is why we find roman relics still in Syria, at least until ISIS came along). They commissioned portraits to communicate the leadership qualities they wanted people to see.

Here are some masterpieces that show how quality marcom can last and work over two millennias.

Detail of Alexander The Great’s Sarcophagus, c.320 BC

“..the artists was summoned by society to make certain works of visual communication (called frescoes) to inform the public of certain religious event. Today the designer … is called upon to make communication..” Bruno Munari, Design As Art, p.31

Augustus, 1st century, Rome

The Augustus of Primaporta was a piece of propaganda. Or a political campaign – terminology I prefer, obviously. It portrays him as a great military leader, which is an important quality that he wanted his people to see in him. His arm is outstretched to his troops. His power over the military is evident. The cupid next to him says he is descended from the gods.

Artful Marketing – Today & Tomorrow

The only recent example of truly great design for a political campaign that I can think of is the Obama Hope poster. Maybe the current resistance movement in the US will bring on more artistic examples in the future.

NASA is doing something interesting – they take on An Artist in Residence annually to collaborate on communicating with audiences.

The UN decided to do the same (they already enlisted Leonardo diCaprio who made a nice movie, etc). This year they work with the Irish painter Siobhán McDonald. Here is her take on how she can help promote climate change action:

Artists have a role to play in alerting people to certain situations in a way that scientists cannot. Siobhán McDonald

Photo by Siobhan McDonald

So true.

*Feature image on top: The Battle of Issus in 333 BCE between Alexander the Great and the Persian King Darius. [This is a Roman copy of a lost original wall painting. The mosaic was found in the House of in Pompeii. The original Hellenistic painting was by Philoxenes, from around 300 BC.

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