By students, for students.

Branding Bacon

In Marketing on December 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm


Brands can be deliberate or emergent. Branding is the reputation, emotional significance and a mental summary of a business, organisation or even personality. By this definition, 20th Century painter Francis Bacon emerged as a successful brand both for his art and its commercialisation.

The Bacon brand was coherent, underpinned by a view of man as merely another animal – prey to its sexual desires, bodily functions and anxieties. This attracted a particular segment of the art world, between modern abstraction and neo-romanticism, where those seeking brand association would pay almost $90m for the privilege of owing a piece of his ‘brand’.

The Bacon brand was also authentic. He maintained his standards as an artist by regularly destroying canvases so that they would never reach the public. Bacon refused to sever the connection between his art and the sensory and emotional realities common to all humanity. Bacon inhaled the full range of human experience – dining with countesses, drinking in Soho, mixing violence and sexuality in his private life. His brand was an amalgam of transparent influences.

The most successful brands project a consistent and credible message – strengthening emotional associations to build profitable customer relationships. I believe Francis Bacon achieved much the same. However, he might be appalled that those elements of quality, coherence, authenticity provide a platform today for the sale of ‘Bacon’ beach towels and cushions in ‘his’ shop – an enterprise, even if philanthropic, that could damage the brand by its conflict with all that Bacon embodied.


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