I’ve always been interested in the relationship between creative and business ventures. In college at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston I learned how to design things, then at Tufts University I learned how they were sold. What’s always amazed me is how many great marketing ideas have bubbled up from the art world directly into the business world. Unfortunately the business world does not always do them justice. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

The first video shows footage of a giant zoetrope sculpture made by Peter Hudsons, which he brought to Burning Man back in 2007. The piece animates a monkey that is swinging from branch to branch of a giant tree. The footage is not great quality, but you’ll get the idea and Peter explains how it works over the course of the clip. The link to his site above offers better footage of a more recent project brought to Burning Man in 2008. He’s done at least four such zeotropes to date.

With Peter’s zeotropes, there are several exercise bikes that are placed around the sculpture that actually power it. In order to set the piece in motion audience members must generate enough power to get it spinning and up to speed. Following this, the participants on the bikes cheer each other on, and are cheered on by the crowd. There are also a series of drums that are placed around the piece that trigger the strobes to create the animation effect. There is a brilliant reveal that takes place when the drumming reaches critical mass, the bikers get the piece spinning fast enough, and strobes snap into a coordinated sequence that brings the animation to life. Peter really says it best:


Below is a clip is  the BRAVIA-drome, the world’s largest zoetrope made for a current Sony advertising campaign. As you can see they had a slightly larger budget …. but they lost sight of the most important feature in the slickness of their presentation. The thing that Peter understands so well is the idea that engagement depends on investment.  Sony seems to have made something that is technically remarkable, and beautiful, but significantly less engaging. I think they dropped the ball, so to speak.


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One Comment to From Art To Marketing Campaign, Sony Misses The Engagement

  1. […] Design. When I read the article, I was reminded of an art project I worked on several years ago and the post I wrote a couple weeks ago about how some of the best marketing ideas bubble up from the arts. Here’s an example from my […]

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