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Sotheby’s, one of the world’s oldest and most respected auctioneers, wanted to develop a unique Instagram video campaign to promote their upcoming Spring Contemporary Art Auction in New York City that would feature the work of prominent artists such as Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Danh Vo, and more. Using social media, Sotheby’s wanted to cultivate a larger audience of young, affluent art collectors that frequent social media and would be interested in visiting and bidding in the auction.
We worked with Sotheby’s and came up with this collection of short films, made specifically for social media platforms, playing with the context or process of artworks from artists like Andy Warhol and Jonas Wood. We did so by cleverly merging live-action with stop-motion, creating a series of engaging, digestible videos for Instagram and Facebook. Each video puts a fun twist on a different artwork, playing with either the story behind it or its significance, bringing certain details to life in a light and slightly humorous manner. This creative was targeting a young and art-educated audience who would be familiar with the “inside” jokes plugged into each film that respected the artwork, but also had a bit fun with it to market the campaign.
We began this project by doing research on the artists and their pieces of work that would be auctioned. Once we understood the artists’ methodology, we started writing short scripts that would fit the 15 second Instagram limit and be optimized for smartphone viewing. In order to keep each video fun and tailored to the Instagram audience, we decided to inject humor by playing off of typical art gallery and auctioneering tropes.
The most playful element we incorporated was the gloved auctioneering hands that would interact with each artwork in mischievous and quirky ways. Appearing in every video in the series, these hands were a recurring theme that helped connect each video in aesthetic and tone. The artwork and typographical elements were presented with typical art gallery aesthetics, white backdrop, black serif fonts on uniquely textured paper. The paper’s texture was an important accent, giving the copy an added layer of richness and character that would be lost if just displayed digitally.
To keep the video well-paced and exciting throughout, the music created was inspired by the surf rock band The Ventures. Many of the pieces in the auction were created in the 60s and 70s, so the style of music both connected with the art and complemented the quirkiness of the hands and the fast scenarios used in the videos. Variations of the track were used to accent any comedic moments and provided the significant synergy that really worked with the series as a whole.
Sotheby’s wanted to reinvent the way art auctions are marketed and engage with a younger demographic, and these videos did exactly that. The Seize the Day campaign generated a buzz on both Sothebys’ Instagram and Facebook pages. This was the first motion campaign to help Sotheby’s establish their social media presence, which has since risen from 50K followers to more than half a million followers today.