I came across an advertisement today and it reminded me about our discussion of pencils, therefore I wanted to expand upon the Tuesday blog posting I originally made regarding this topic. The ad was a sponsored post on Instagram by the agency Ogilvy and Mather that promoted Faber-Castell's, a stationary supply store, top of the line artist pencils. I believe I was targeted for the ad because I view a lot of craft making videos on social media, but nonetheless the ad was a video showing some replications of works like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and Vincent Van Gogh’s “Terrace Cafe at Night” using thousands of colored pencils. I had never imagined colored pencils could be used in that fashion, but in hindsight I can see how it is possible. The amount of detail necessary to put together the pieces in the ad must have been more than the actual masterpiece itself. I imagine the pencil artist behind the works spent hours shaving down the pencils to their appropriate lengths, then spending even more time aligning them properly so that the colors match those in the original.
Unfortunately, I was unable to track down the video itself as Instagram refreshes content every time you log back in, but I was able to find however the works that were shown in the ad. The video almost made me want to click on icons to learn more about the pencils and maybe purchase a few of my own (even though I have very little drawing talent).
Van Gogh's Terrace Cafe at Night
Replication of Van Gogh's Terrace Cafe at Night
Edvard Munich's The Scream
Replication of Edvard Munich's The Scream
Before the ad, I had never seen the painting made by Edvard Munich, and for me it was the most convincing and eye-opening depiction in the short video. My eyes were glued to the face of the screaming woman. The work almost gives me a sense of discomfort and restlessness. I feel myself wanting to look away but I am constantly drawn back to the painting. The feeling I am describing most closely aligns with cactospectamania, which is defined as "an obsession of staring at something which is repulsive". According to Business Insider, top-rated advertisement agencies commonly make use of the tactic of using imagery that evokes sensory response. The article goes on explain that Instagram is the second most fleeting of all the main social media networks, behind Snapchat, and that online ad campaigns have on average less than a second to engage with their audience before they could lose a targeted customer. The idea of the attention economy, where a human's attention should be treated as a scarce commodity, is built on this very tenet. Thales Teixeira from the Harvard Business Review also purports that red is the most stimulating of colors, and when applicable, advertisers will try and mix red and other vibrant colors on screen to capture your attention. An interesting tidbit related to red's attention grabbing power I found was that drivers in red cars are the ones that are the most likely to be pulled over by the police. With this particular ad, The Scream, which has red along the sides and striping through the painting, was the opening image and was the reason that ultimately kept me tuned in for the 30 second clip. I am debating internally whether it was the pencil sketch that was more attention grabbing or the image itself, but either way Ogilvy and Mather convinced me that I wanted to write a blog about this very topic. Ogilvy as a firm has been known for its humorous, moving and provocative ads, and I think their pencil demonstration showcases their creative excellence.
The point of this blog is that art can and really should induce sensory stimulation, whether that be through pencil shavings, pencil replication, sculptures, watercolor, etc. If art, by any means, creates a lasting response, it has served its superficial purpose. In fact, through the course of me writing this blog I have turned back to my phone several times to look through Faber-Castell's website in search of their pencils, proving that in this case, the pencil artist achieved his or her goal!
Samet, Alexandra. “Analyzing Instagram User Growth and Usage Patterns in 2020.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 24 Feb. 2020, www.businessinsider.com/instagram-marketing-trends-predictions-2020.
Birkne, Christine. “6 Funny, Moving and Provocative Ads That Showed Ogilvy's Creative Excellence in 2016.” Adweek, Adweek, 5 Dec. 2016, www.adweek.com/creativity/6-funny-moving-and-provocative-ads-showed-ogilvys-creative-excellence-2016-174844/.
Teixeira, Thales. “When People Pay Attention to Video Ads and Why.” Harvard Business Review, 30 Nov. 2017, hbr.org/2015/10/when-people-pay-attention-to-video-ads-and-why.
Eael, Lisa. “Did You Know There's a Word for That?” Lisa's Writopia, 9 Oct. 2017, lisaswritopia.com/did-you-know-theres-a-word-for-that/.
Ashley, Michael. “Sick Of The Attention Economy? It's Time To Rebel.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 25 Nov. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/11/24/sick-of-the-attention-economy-its-time-to-rebel/#18a1e0b735ac.
Van Gogh, Vincent. Terrace Cafe at Night. Photograph. 2012. https://www.vincentvangogh.org/cafe-at-night.jsp
Munich, Edvard. The Scream. Photograph. 2014. http://kezzela.blogspot.com/2016/01/13-looks-at-different-forms-of-pencil.html
Ogilvy and Mather. Replication of the Terrace Cafe at Night. Photograph. 2020. https://treebeard31.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/coloured-pencil-art/
Ogilvy and Mather. Replication of the The Scream. Photograph. 2020. https://treebeard31.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/coloured-pencil-art/