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Human Billboard

Huawei

Issue 49 | December 2018

Agency

DLVBBDO

Creative Team

Executive Creative Directors Stefania Siani, Federico Pepe Creative Directors Pas Frezza, Luca Iannucci Creative Team Luana Contu, Giulia Ricciardi

Production Team

Producer Edoardo Taschini Production Company Basement

Other Credits

Account Team Cristina Pontello, Erika Belcore

Date

April 2018

Background

The Huawei P20 smartphone was built with the world’s first triple-lens Leica camera. Its technology gave photographers more options for creativity than any smartphone before.

The insight behind the campaign idea was that today 60% of the content that people share with each other online is branded content. Truly, people are media today in new ways.

Idea

Huawei partnered with controversial and provocative Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

Early in his career, he had achieved notoriety by renting out his space at the 46th Venice Biennale, one of the biggest art events in the world, to a perfume company to use for a billboard.

To support the positioning thought of ‘Show Your Fun Side’, Cattelan gave the first public speech of his life at the Carrara Fine Arts Academy, where he was being given an honorary Professorship. Usually he sent other people to pretend they were him. This time it really was Cattelan himself. “Renaissance”, he told the national and international media present, “starts within us.” This theme was echoed by the startling message stencilled across his forehead, ‘Huawei P20 Pro. Urban Renaissance.’ He was media, a living billboard raising awareness of a Huawei competition, ‘Urban Renaissance’ in which young Italians were asked to suggest places where Huawei could send a street artist to make them better.

Results

Though the billboard measured just 14cm x 7cm, it went around the world, as an art performance in its own right. Not only did it promote the Huawei P20 Pro but it started a debate about people as media.

Our Thoughts

In a rather different way, Andy Warhol was also fascinated by the connection points between brands and art. Cattelan certainly had form when it came to advertising and art, calling the poster at the Biennale “Working is A Bad Job”, presumably because the money he earned from it meant he didn’t have to (work).

So, for him this stunt was a useful way of promoting the Cattelan brand as well as the Huawei P20 Pro. It was, after all, performance art in itself so he could avoid being accused of ‘selling out’, as some might suggest. In fact, he donated his entire fee to fund 20 scholarships for young artists.

And, of course, the competition was about the renaissance of neglected parts of Italy.

Everyone got something out of it, even Joe Public, who got a laugh. What’s not to like?

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