Kendra Gaines May 21st, 2012

Selling Art: Creative and Artistic Advertisements

We live in a world, in a society, where it's almost impossible to go a day or a couple of hours or even a few of minutes without trying to be sold something. Sometimes an opportunity to purchase can present itself subtly; perhaps a friend has a product you like or perhaps you drove past a billboard on the interstate. Sometimes the opportunity to purchase presents itself directly in the form of a salesperson, or even a blatant advertisement of some sort urging you to buy. Most times, advertisements are the way in which we are given opportunities to, at the very least, learn about a product. Whether it's a commercial or a billboard or a radio spot, advertisements are everywhere. The inconsistency in advertisements comes in the way in which they are presented, for example, are they humorous or serious, or in this case, what is the art direction? Today, we are going to look at some print advertisements that use an artistic approach to selling their art online. Sometimes print advertisements use glamour shots, or even great photo manipulations to convey a point, but this time we just want to showcase some of the artistic advertisements whose main focus is on conveying their point very creatively.

Selling Art

Bayer Nazol: Smells of the World, Countryside The best advertisements are those that over exaggerate a bit. Here, this wonderful illustration let's us believe that if we buy and use this product we can pretty much smell everything. The hand drawn, simplistic direction makes this fun. Top Digital: Paradise This audio company used some illustrations to show how they use sounds and such to create their paradise. The illustrator uses some crazy designs and shapes to create the finished product. BWF Badminton The focus for this ad is basically the motion and energy created by badminton. Quite frankly, many don't believe this sport to be that exhilarating or exciting, but this advertisement tries to show otherwise. This is an extremely creative ad. Cocaine: Amy Though a bit of a controversial piece, this ad did a great job illustrating someone who can be argued to be an icon. Yellow Pages: Coffee Art isn't just about what you can draw or paint, but it's also the way in which you compose. This collage of sorts visualizes a coffee cup and saucer. A very interesting piece. La Curacao Store: Orange and Carrot The folks in charge of these ads decided they wanted to use art straight up by mixing the colors of the fruits and vegetables used in certain blends they have tried. This one focuses on oranges and a carrot smoothies. Gilera Creation Well, this one is obviously all about the art, with one of the most famous pieces of art represented in the background. The team here makes it seem as if the motorcycle is a piece of art (note: the paint splashes and brush and palette) to be put up against the greats. Gotte Optician: Tie Guy While not sure if these shapes were actually cut out or if this is some great shading, the illustration here as well as the imagined process gets all the focus. Invaders Pest Control: Disintegrate, Mosquito This is an extremely simple, yet effective piece that uses another illustration to convey their point. Jornal O Povo: Hendrix This ad shows another illustration of a huge musical icon, drawn and with a seemingly thought provoking question to go along with it. The only visual focus, really, is the actual illustration. La Salle There's a lot of things going on in this advertisements and a lot of things to be said, but each is conveyed creatively with a mixture of illustrations and pictures. The ad is for a school of the arts, so why not use art to convey their message? Magazine Luiza: Coffee Machine Sale With a bit of a humorous look, this is another illustrated piece that helps convey a little bit of fun. It's simple, it's easy to get and the art is pretty good too. Marmaluzi Baby Food: Frozen Meat The illustration and composition here are amazing. The idea was obviously to look a bit like a comic book cover or movie poster and they did such a great job. It's very different for an ad, especially one for baby food. Mikro Club It's easy to think, when you're advertising a night club to just have pictures of the club and work around that. This club decided to take a very artistic and creative approach to the idea, which actually strikes up a bit of interest. Nescafe: Sailor Sometimes when you want to get a message across, the best way to do it is with no frills and fluff. This simple, nice illustration does just that. Purrel Hand Hand sanitizer is meant to kill the germs found on your hand. This ad illustrates many of the things we touch that have the germs on them. Some of these are eye openers and nevertheless, this is a wonderfully executed illustration. UNICEF: School Bullying The idea here is that bullying is not a game, especially for the one that is being bullied. The art director here chose to parallel that idea with a game of pinball via a super amazing illustration. Spoleto Restaurants: Food Fantasy, Little Red Riding Hood Though this has a nice fun and childlike illustration, this advertisement does have a very serious message. Nonetheless, the texture and the execution of it all are very inspiring. The Times of India Again, this creative ad isn't about how great of a drawing or painting is put in place, but how the actual focus is prepared. This seems to be a bunch of newspapers gathered to look much like a finger print. The Ultra Asian, 1 This massive illustration attempts to create a large piece dedicated to asian culture. There is no one focus, but the task was carried out creatively and beautifully. La Fabbrica di Nichi Many graphic designers and illustrators put a good amount of emphasis on typography as an art. Here we have an advertisement that uses some decent typography to get their point across. Caos Sustainability: 7 Billions, 2 In an attempt to display a bunch of scientific (and sometimes boring) information, this agency decided to try a little creativity for their art direction. It's as if they took a picture of a couple faucets and made a kaleidoscope--it's a bit busy but attractive. Koolfoam Mattress: Lullaby Baby There are a lot of ways someone can visualize a baby sleeping on a soft mattress. This agency decided to take an artistic and illustrative route. The Pepsi Slavic Epopee, Kubicek There are times when companies try to take something extremely iconic and make it conform to their idea of their company. This go round, Pepsi decided they wanted to reinvent the Slavic Epopee --and the illustrator did an amazing job. Common Place, Her This is an extremely different and creative approach to an advertisement. Advertising what would seem to be a dating service, they show their uncommon approach through this uncommon ad. Angels in my Kitchen Bakery & Confectionery: Santa's Gift Guess Santa got tired of someone stealing his treats? This extremely artistic and creative advertisement seems to believe as such. Scrabble Some people really believe that there is an art to playing word games such as Scrabble. This advertisement tries to make that clear, not just by presenting the words that can come out of the letters, but through the artistic execution of this ad. Faber-Castell: The Scream As previously mentioned, some agencies love to take something that's recognizable and use it for the sake of the company they are selling for. This time the agency is trying to sell art supplies by using some of the most famous art works seen--by creatively recreating them.


Now that you have gotten through this showcase, and seen the many ways that art is used to sell products or services through print advertising campaigns, we want to hear from you. What did you think about this collection, or what type of print advertisements do you prefer? Are their any great iconic print campaigns you feel should have made the list? (rb)

Kendra Gaines

Kendra Gaines is a young freelance designer for Norfolk, VA. Visit her online portfolio at and follow her on twitter @TheGainesColl.


  1. Cool pics. The amy whinhoes pic is cool, i like it. The others are very creative… The reimagination of the scream is a good idea, too.

  2. Very Creative. Your imagination is awesome…………………………………………………….. I liked the idea very much

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