What Campari Gets Right: The Creativity, Artistry and Poetry Behind Branding

PUBLISHED: September 20, 2018

It’s likely that you know the name Campari. If you’re not a fan of their liqueur (or the Campari Group suite of alcoholic beverages), then perhaps you’ve spotted a reproduction of one of their world famous posters in the dining room of a friend or neighbor. These hand-drawn vintage posters are so popular, in fact, that they’ve spawned a museum—Galleria Campari—which opened in 2010 to mark the company’s 150th anniversary. The gallery is “entirely dedicated to the relationship between the ‘Campari’ brand and the ways in which art and design have been used to communicate it.”

So what does this say about Campari, the sixth largest spirits company in the world? It says that they appreciate the artistry in their own branding. Davide Campari, son of founder Gaspare Campari, commissioned the most prolific painters of the early 1900s to create imagery for Campari’s products. Davide understood that marketing is an art form that requires the input and skill of true artists.

This was no accident—this was Davide’s intention all along—and those principles are still alive and well today. In their 2016 brand guidelines brochure, Campari identifies itself as a fun, unique lifestyle brand. And as part of its mission statement, this incredibly successful, globally recognized liqueur company reminds itself to:

Explore the ‘road less travelled.’

Modern technology is both a blessing and a curse in the marketing world. While we’ve made leaps and bounds, particularly in the manner and frequency with which we’re able to communicate with customers, technology also distances us from the artistry of molding a brand—and allowing that brand evolve over time. With the world at our fingertips, it’s simply too easy to populate webpages with stock photography and quirky messaging. What this approach lacks is poetry. Sophistication. The makings of a 150-year-old, treasured lifestyle brand.

So how do we rediscover the artistry in marketing? Well:

  1. Take that road less travelled. Branding aside, Campari’s advertisements were groundbreaking in the world of graphic design. In the past decade, companies like Skittles, GoDaddy, Dove and Dollar Shave Club have proven that taking a risk and venturing into the unknown can reap remarkable rewards. So, do something outside the box. Stay true to yourself, but be open to stepping out of your comfort zone.
  2. Find your muse. Whether it’s a commissioned graphic artist or your longtime marketing partner, we always need that second voice to offer a new, refreshing perspective. Collaboration is probably the most vital and most rewarding part of the creative process.
  3. Find a balance between artistry and technology. When it comes to marketing campaigns, both art and tech are instrumental components of the same process, working toward a shared goal. They may not eat at the same cafeteria table, but you must find a way to meld the two together. Eschew the artistry, and you’ll risk being just like everyone else in your industry. Shun the technology, and your artistry will never reach the global audience it deserves.

Sure, not every TV commercial deserves to be a cinematic Fellini masterpiece (though you can find Campari’s Fellini commercial on YouTube), and not every poster deserves to be framed and hung on your living room wall. But you can still honor the creative process and respect the art form. And when your brand-inspired museum opens in Zurich 150 years from today, you can tell them that we pointed you in the right direction.


Article originally published in Community News.

About Brand Poets

Founded by Tana M. Llinas, Brand Poets is a collective of strategists, visual storytellers, and digital artisans crafting smart, poignant campaigns that command attention. www.brandpoets.com


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