American Idol is a true phenomenon that offers visual artists marketing lessons.
American Idol is a true phenomenon that offers visual artists marketing lessons. From humble beginnings, the Fox singing contest reality show program has grown to 27 million viewers making it the most-watched TV show in the US. Additionally, it is broadcast in a taped version to 100 countries worldwide.
The show makes for great water cooler conversational fodder for die hard fans. For others, including me, it is a guilty pleasure. I admit to overcoming smug somewhat elitist feelings of being too busy, too cool, too with it to spend time watching it. Somewhere around Season Three, I succumbed as it grabbed my attention. I imagine some reading this have noses turned up thinking what a crock. But, that’s okay, different opinions make things interesting and you are invited to freely express yourself by commenting below.
Most reality shows seem to be about taking ordinary people and putting them in stressful situations so they will make fools of themselves for the viewers entertainment. AI plays this game too as it winnows the more than 100,000 contestants down to a select few. But, when only a dozen contestants are left, it becomes truly interesting as real talent is put to the test.
I’m sure some tune in to hear withering remarks from British judge, Simon Cowell. But, I believe more watch because they like the music, grow fond of the performers and enjoy the opportunity to participate and support them with their votes. The drama, talent and tension are played out in ways that offer lessons to visual artists seeking to create their own bond with an audience.
THREE TIPS TO REMEMBER
The judges are forced to provide commentary and insight. Most of it is forgettable, occasionally some tips are poignant classic reminders worthy of taking notice. Regular viewers hear the same repeated advice, which is spot on and can be boiled down to:
So, how does this all translate to a career as a visual artist?
BE ORIGINAL – In the observations of the common attributes shared by successful artists, I’ve long noted, even well before I wrote my book, the primary criteria or first matter is to create work that resonates with prospective collectors and to find interesting ways to repeat new iterations of the same theme. Be successful, be original, and by all means don’t be afraid to be IT!
MAKE GREAT CONTENT OR THEME CHOICES – Often the most successful artists are not creating a brand new look, but rather reinterpreting a style to make it original for themselves. Nothing wrong with being a pioneer, but it’s not necessarily a surefire way to amass collectors either. The artist who owns the look does not have to have invented it. You may have read it here before, but this adage is apropos and worth repeating. “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
PRESENTATION IS CRUCIAL – If the artist lacks confidence, or at least the ability to passionately portray confidence in the work, the job of selling the work falls solely to art. There is simply more to it than that. Perhaps it’s not fair, but most buyers would rather own a piece of art from someone they like or admire or both than from one who they don’t. This is far more critical for self-representing artists than for those who work in relative anonymity in the stable of a large publishing company. But then in those cases, the publisher has to shine in the way it conducts its business. As for poster publishers, there arguably is no better example than Wild Apple Graphics of a company that knows how to shine a light on itself.
Seven Savvy Points to Ponder from American Idol