How Richard Reed brought art to the roadside masses

Entrepreneur Richard Reed has found a new way to bring art to the masses, writes Matthew Chapman

  • Blaze 4 by Bridget Riley

    Blaze 4 by Bridget Riley

  • For You by Tracey Emin

    For You by Tracey Emin

  • Going to the Match by LS Lowry

    Going to the Match by LS Lowry

  • Our English Coasts by William Holman Hunt

    Our English Coasts by William Holman Hunt

  • Pardaxin by Damien Hirst

    Pardaxin by Damien Hirst

  • The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by John Martin

    The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by John Martin

  • Whistlejacket by George Stubbs

    Whistlejacket by George Stubbs

of

Like many of the best ideas, the concept behind Art Everywhere, billed as Britain’s biggest art exhibition, was hammered out in the pub.

Hatched during a conversation between Innocent founder Richard Reed and Richard Morris, managing director of media agency Vizeum, the fledgling idea was then put to Glen Wilson.

Managing director of out-of-home communications agency Posterscope, Wilson rallied the outdoor industry and secured 22,000 sites to showcase the nation’s finest art over a two-week period this summer.

Reed’s wife persuaded him to take on the project to share his own experience of walking past a "beautiful bit of art" at a derelict poster site during his old commute to work.

"It could have so quickly and easily become a marketing initiative," he says. "The typical way you would do this is get a sponsor and have their logo on it."

Rather than sign up a sponsor, the poster industry agreed to take a hit by giving up "millions of pounds" in media spend, while all other partners involved in the project, including Tate and creative agency 101, provided their services free of charge.

Operating costs, including the printing of the posters, were covered by a crowd-funding project led by the Art Fund, which raised £130,000.

Richard Flintham, a founding partner at 101, believes the "beauty" of the idea plays off the cynicism surrounding the marketing industry. He claims there was an "absence of agenda" that was likely to make people ask whether it was a teaser campaign for a new product such as the Citroën Picasso.

Reed says it was the existing relationship between Tate and 101 that helped persuade the art institution to back the project. "Tate curates the world’s greatest art and has an incredible amount of trust invested in it from the art community. It cannot abuse that," he explains.

The sheer number of poster sites dedicated to the initiative meant it was equivalent in size to national outdoor campaigns for Apple and Coca-Cola combined, and a tantalising prospect for Tate and the Art Fund.

It is estimated that during the course of the campaign in August, 90% of the population would have seen at least one of the posters 15 times.

This summer’s "exhibition" is likely to be just the beginning, although Reed predicts that next time the project could be based on philosophy or art from local communities.

"You can do it in every medium, can’t you?" he adds. "I guess the ultimate vision is every country doing it using all their advertising media."

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer