In the longstanding love affair between art and advertising, it’s hard to think of any artist currently doing it better than globally celebrated “gif-iti” artist INSA, who bring street art to life as a digital GIF that’s ripe for social media sharing. Now Pepsi is the latest brand to partner with the British artist for another stunning creation.
Pepsi UK approached INSA with a challenge: Describe the intense taste of Pepsi Max Cherry through INSA’s unique stop-motion animated GIF graffiti (“Gif-iti”) for its #LiveForNow campaign.
At first glance, the short video looks rather tame. But give a little thought to what needed to go into something so complicated, and the project’s uniqueness starts to sink in. Over a million people have watched the video in just one week in a testament to its hypnotic digital creativity.
That is part of what speaks to youths about such collaborations, INSA tells Marketing: “The young people that are Pepsi’s audience are so used to engaging with things so flippantly and getting instantaneously satisfaction, but knowing that that instant took a whole load of time and effort to make gives that human element within the digital stuff.”
It’s not INSA’s first ambitious branded art project. Last year, INSA worked with Ballantine’s “Stay True” platform and used a satellite for a high-flying view dubbed “Space Gif-iti.”
Two years before that, INSA’s future was hinted at with a understated project for Unilever’s men’s deodorant brand, Lynx, above.
That same year INSA partnered with Chinese athletic gear brand Li-Ning for a mural at Miami’s glittery Art Basel fair. As The Atlantic pointed out, the irony is that, as an art form, gif-iti can only really be appreciated online in final video form.
Brands partnering with artists is not a new trend, of course. From the Roman Catholic Church hiring Michelangelo up to BMW’s Art Car, artists have long worked with commercial interests looking for creative expression.
This is also how INSA frames his brand partnerships. In his latest interview with Marketing, he commented that, “If it’s not inhibiting on the creative process and you’re able to make the work you want to make, then I think it is like having a patron of the arts.”
PepsiCo has an especially good recent history as a patron of emerging artists, including last year’s Pepsi Moon installation in the Likuid Art Dome at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans. Finding these artists is not happenstance. Pepsi North America has an in-house division, Creator, that’s tasked with “finding new ways to engage consumers through immersive experiences” such as the 2014 “bioreactive concert” at SXSW.
INSA last year worked with the brand on a Gif-iti project in China for a localized “Live for Now” activation (below and at top).