I’m WIth the
Brands are finding that promoting the names of the photographers they hire
for unusual, fine-art projects can help their company build cachet, and produce
something special to offer their customers. By Conor risch
In traditional advertising the photographer is often anonymous. The consumer’s reaction to a photograph featured in an ad is vi- tally important to that ad’s effectiveness, yet even if the average consumer loves a photograph, they probably have no idea who shot it and never will. (Fashion advertising, where a campaign’s clout is often partially based on the photographer’s name, is an
Yet in some cases brands gain cachet with consumers by attaching
themselves to a notable photographer and that photographer’s work.
For instance the Puerto Rico Tourism Board recently hired Elliott Erwitt
to photograph a campaign for them and then used footage of Erwitt
making the work in their broadcast advertising, promoting Puerto Rico as
seen by Erwitt, the famous Magnum photographer.
Three brands—The Macallan Scotch Whisky, Sequoia Grove Wines and
Mercedes-Benz—have made similar plays in the past year, touting photographers’ names and, in a couple of cases, their prints, as part of their
brand marketing strategy.
PDN spoke with the photographers and advertisers behind these efforts about how projects in which photographers’ names are a prominent
part of a brand’s marketing strategy can help create a unique product for
consumers and buzz for the brand.
All photos pAges 78-79 © Albert WAtson for the MAcAll An
Albert WAtson for the MAcAllAn
Macallan’s “Masters of Photography” project, which enlists a famous pho-
tographer each year to create a unique body of work around The Macallan
Scotch Whisky, began because their director of malts, Ken Grier, loves
photography. “I’ve loved photography all my life,” Greir says. Macallan
had enlisted other artists to create special bottles and other artwork for
the brand. But this was a different look. “We thought there would be an
opportunity to do something that nobody else had ever done.”
The accessibility of photography also appealed to the brand.
“Photography to me is incredibly beautiful, very collectible, it’s extraor-
dinarily upscale, it’s contemporary, it’s dynamic. It’s also quite democrat-
ic,” Grier explains. “Everybody around the world can appreciate a great
In its first year the project featured photographs by British photogra-
pher Rankin. In typical Rankin fashion, they showed a nude young woman
in and around the Macallan distillery. The second iteration of the Masters
of Photography project, which has been touring as an exhibition to cities
worldwide including New York, London, Moscow, Singapore and others,
features the work of Albert Watson.
Watson was asked to tell the story of the Spanish oak from which