Provocateurs in print: Saatchi & Saatchi embraces artistic incongruity for Govett-Brewster—UPDATED

The best art is often laced with subversion and provocation. And the same rules often apply to the best advertising. Now those two things have been combined with Saatchi & Saatchi’s campaign to promote the recently re-opened Govett-Brewster art gallery in New Plymouth. 

In an increasingly digital, visual and emoji-filled world, long-copy print ads are a rare beast and could probably be seen as an indulgence. But using text rather than images to promote an art gallery is a clever tactic. 

“We wanted to use long copy because it forces you to engage, which is what the Govett-Brewster is here to do,” says executive creative director Corey Chalmers. “It’s written to be reasonably confrontational. We love the idea of being a provocateur since 1970 and took that as a start point.”

As well as print the work will appear on bus backs, street posters, billboards and online.

Anna McLaren, manager communications and experience, says the arts and culture sector has an important part to play in transformation and community change, so it set out to remind New Zealanders that “one of the world’s best contemporary art museums is right under our nose – a place of provocation, a safe place where thinking can be challenged and change instigated”.

“We believe our role at the Govett-Brewster is to challenge people’s perceptions through contemporary art so we encouraged Saatchi & Saatchi to be deliberately provocative, to incite an immediate reaction, and they’ve certainly achieved this through this campaign.”

Govett-Brewster's new branding sees ad agency pair up with kinetic artistry

Before the gallery re-opened—and announced the arrival of the new Len Lye Centre—on July 25, it unveiled a new brand designed by Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide. 

The old Govett-Brewster logo

The gallery has a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its vision and commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific Rim. And the rebrand uses New Plymouth’s Wind Wand, a 48-meter kinetic art sculpture designed by Len Lye. Constructed out of fibreglass and carbon fibre, a red sphere tops the wand containing 1,296 light-emitting diodes.

The wand bends up to 20 meters in the wind and created shapes and patterns that became the source of inspiration. 

The sculpture had its movements photographed against the night sky, and the patterns captured by the camera were then turned into graphic marks that make up the images.

Derek Lockwood, the Saatchi & Saatchi worldwide director of design, says the marks represent the energy and vibrancy of the New Plymouth district and its people.

“We set out to create an integrated brand solution that positions the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery as the home of kinetic art, and, as such, a destination of worldwide significance,” he says.

Saatchi & Saatchi has a close connection to art, both through its founders and, in New Zealand, through its gallery space and support of artists. And the partnership came about due to Saatchi & Saatchi’s ability to grow Govett-Brewster’s brand beyond New Zealand, says gallery director Simon Rees.

“Saatchi & Saatchi’s global reach, expertise, relationships and media access will help grow the Govett-Brewster’s reputation and broaden audience awareness about what we do,” he says.

Reach has also been part of the current debate on the Hundertwasser project in Whangarei, with the executive chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, ex-pat Kiwi Kevin Roberts saying it will give Northland “a way of distinguishing itself on the world stage”.

The new Len Lye Centre, designed by Patterson Architects, claims to be the country’s first example of ‘destination architecture’ linked to contemporary art, and will be the repository of the works, archive and spirit of Len Lye.


Govett Brewster:

Director: Simon Rees

Manager Communications and Experience: Anna McLaren

Saatchi & Saatchi:

Executive Creative Director: Corey Chalmers

Senior Art Director / Lead Designer: Arnya Karaitiana

Copywriters: Corey Chalmers and Philip O’Neill

Communications Director: Isobel Kerr-Newell

Senior Account Manager: Rachael Williams

Dennis Grbin: Designer (Freelancer)

Tias Somers: Production Manager

Shane Kelly: Mac Operator

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