Simon Arms posted a great piece in Smashing Magazine examining Berlin street art. After painting a brief history of the movement, which emerged from post WW2 political slogans covering the bombed city’s abandoned buildings, Arms examines a case study of Linda’s Ex, the alias of artist Roland Brueckner.
In the summer of 2003, posters of a boy bemoaning the loss of his ex-girlfriend, Linda, began to appear on walls and fences in the Friedrichshain district. Sometimes he looked like a boy ready to kill himself; sometimes he looked like a man ready to kill. Whichever way the artist drew him, his sad eyes always asked passersby the same question: “Where’s Linda?”
At first, people either ignored the posters or were mildly curious. But as both the pictures and messages increased in intensity, they had no choice but to take notice. People were starting to believe that his suffering was real. And if his suffering was real, then they did not doubt that he needed help. Everyone seemed to have a point of view, and the more they expressed it, the more posters appeared.
Linda’s Ex was successful because he communicated with and responded to his audience almost every day. If he had stopped, even for a month, the public’s interest would have dissipated.
This was the 1980′s, decades before the advent of Twitter, and Brueckner’s artwork inspired engaging conversation through the ancient medium of paint to wall, chisel to stone. The key to his success in generating a reaction from passerby’s wasn’t rooted in the precision in his artistic technique or the medium in which he used to paint, but in his constant responses and replies to his audience. The art is in the engagement, not in the art itself.
How can we apply this idea to marketing? Twitter has created a streamlined channel for conversations, but unless you have celebrity status as an individual or organization, how can you stand out from the spammers and the noise? How can we approach our digital marketing campaigns with the same intelligence to invoke a response like one seen from ‘Linda’s Ex’?