Friday, January 27, 2012

Art Marketing Case Study: Drew Brophy

When we think about marketing our art, it's easy to get lost in generalities.  Today I found an artist who offers an excellent example of many principles of art marketing.

I was introduced to Drew Brophy by his wife Maria Brophy, who is part of the SmArtist TeleSummit.  I was intrigued when I heard that he painted on surfboards so I went to his website and found an artist passionate about surfing ... or maybe a surfer passionate about art.

Here are some of the specifics I noticed:

A tagline that builds credibility and speaks to the target audience:  "Making things look cool since 1971."  Surfing is one of the few "young" activities that seems to honor the elders in the field.  In some fields, mentioning the year 1971 would almost relegate you to the dustbin, but here, it's a badge of honor.  There's a secondary tagline of "Livin' the dream" with a picture of a surfer and a killer wave."

Understanding and speaking the language of your audience:  In addition to images that fit the subject ... bright colors, dragons, eyeballs ... Drew's words fit the subject and the audience.  Here's the opening of his artist statement:  
In high school Drew Brophy’s guidance counselor pulled him aside and sternly warned, “Drew, you can’t just surf and paint your whole life.”   He was crushed, because those were the only two things that he was good at.  He was determined to prove her wrong.
By proving her wrong, Drew connects with every frustrated teenage surfer ... even if they happen to be adults still remembering their younger days.

Using the technology relevant to the audience:  Drew's clientele is young and the media of the young is video.  Here's a video where Drew transforms a plain vanilla van into a surfer's dream machine ... all to the pounding beat of music that fits the target audience.


  1. I can just see this poor boy in school having his balloon deflated by the well-meaning but dream-sapping school counselor. Good story.