There’s lots of brand buzz during Art Basel

Some famous and not-so-famous brands converged in Miami to showcase their products and images in conjunction with Art Basel and satellite fairs.

12/07/2012 11:24 AM

12/07/2012 11:26 AM

Cartier, Bugatti, and Perrier-Jouët are iconic luxury brands that you expect to find showcasing their products during Art Basel and the related art events.

AriZona Beverages and Sears don’t have the same aura.

But this week they’re all on the same playing field at Art Basel, Design Miami, and all the related art fairs. With thousands of people converging for this week’s art events, everyone wants to get their brands in front of consumers.

If you’re in Miami this week, chances are you’ll encounter AriZona’s new Lemon Fizz, a joint collaboration with artist Richard Prince. The sparkling lemon soda comes in pop art-inspired cans featuring representations of Prince’s Nurse and Jokes paintings. Prince’s art has been showcased at the fair, so Miami seemed like a logical place to launch the new product.

This week a couple thousand cases of Lemon Fizz will be consumed in Miami. You’ll find the drink at more than 50 locations, including VIP parties, hotels, art galleries, restaurants, and bars. HaVen Gastro-Lounge is even offering a free “Fresh Prince” cocktail for Happy Hour.

“Basel is an international event that brings a culturally significant audience with a lot of influencers and fashion mavens,” said Jackie Harrigan, global communications director for AriZona. “You want to get your brand in front of as many eyeballs as you can and hope that brand recognition is going to last. A lot of people can’t afford a Richard Prince piece of art and this allows them to have a part of it.”

Sears is much more of a stretch. There’s no artist connection. The retailer hopes to take advantage of fashion influencers in town for Basel and reach out to them through a blogger conference Friday dubbed “searsStyle Presents: Art of Fashion.”

“We believe the event will help us increase consideration and awareness for the great portfolio of fashion brands we have created at Sears,” Sheila Field, chief marketing officer of Sears Apparel said in a statement.

The way brands choose to connect with consumers can take many forms. For some — such as Swiss banking giant UBS, Absolut Vodka, and Davidoff — it’s a formal sponsorship of Art Basel.

For brands where art is a part of their heritage, many take the opportunity to bring their involvement with Art Basel and the related events to life through sponsorship of an artist or a specialty piece.

In the Art Collector Lounge at Art Basel you’ll find an oversized version of the Miroir ice bucket, a piece created by French designer Hervé Van der Straeten in a partnership with Ruinart Champagne. The piece is part of the artist’s desire to turn ordinary objects into works of art. A few limited-edition versions are available at the Christofle store in Bal Harbour.

“The people that come to Basel are spot-on our target audience,” said Nicolas Ricroque, U.S. brand director for Ruinart, an Art Basel sponsor. “They are extremely sophisticated and knowledgeable in wine and art. They are people who appreciate beautiful things.”

Hermes invited visitors to their new Miami Design District store to view COULEURS DE L’OMBRE by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. This is only the third time that a contemporary artist has been invited to re-image the silk square of the traditional Hermes scarf.

At Design Miami, Perrier-Jouët brings its Art Nouveau roots to life in Lost Time, an exhibit by London-based design studio Glithero featuring draped strings of beads in an atmosphere resembling a damp champagne cellar.

“It’s not a commercial event; there’s no branding inside,” said Stéphanie Durroux, international brand director. “It’s a great place to talk to the art and design community and show them that our heritage is not just stuck in the past.”

Basel newcomer Bugatti partnered with French artist Bernar Venet to turn the Grand Sport car into a unique work of art. On display at the Rubell Family Collection in Wynwood, the orange-and-black version is covered with mathematical equations for the aerodynamics and power-to-weight ratio that make it the fastest car in the world.

The Venet car is for sale with an estimated price of more than $5 million. But sales are not the real purpose of the event for Bugatti.

“We don’t look at it as we have to sell X amount of cars this weekend,” said John Hill, sales director of North and South America for Bugatti. “It’s about building relationships with existing customers and meeting new people that might fit our customer profile.”

Cartier decided this year not to have an official sponsorship and focus on more intimate events at its new store in Miami’s Design District. Clients were invited to view the Naturellement collection featuring exotic flowers and animals. This is the first time the majority of the jewelry, which ranges in price from $15,000 to nearly $1 million, has been displayed in the United States.

“It’s more of a hospitality approach,” said Emmanuel Perrin, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America. “Our clients travel the world and we want to be where they are. We want to use the week to showcase our creativity and take advantage of the opportunity to meet with both our current clients and potential clients who are in Miami.”

For Perrier sparkling water the goal is about connecting with younger consumers (25 to 35), which is why the brand is the official water sponsor for PULSE Miami and created the dramatic sculpture at the new Lords South Beach, a larger than life installation featuring a black dog by artist Desi Santiago. The brand also launched an active social-media presence for the first time this year on its Facebook page, Societe Perrier.

“We really have just started engaging with younger consumers,” said Michele Vieira, U.S. brand manager for Perrier. “They have seen the brand, but perhaps they haven’t thought of it for a long time. It’s about pushing the brand persona — we’re daring and a little cutting-edge, while still being chic.”

Art Basel Events Calendar

Miami Art Watch Blog

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