Quote o' the day: Advertising flowers
A flower is basically a weed with an advertising budget.
Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy & Mather in The death of Don Draper.
Before Christie’s sold Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi in 2017, it staged high-profile public exhibitions of the painting around the world, and made an expensively produced video to showcase it – in effect, an ad. On the face of it, all this activity was a flagrant waste of money: almost nobody who consumes the marketing for a da Vinci is in the market for it. Christie’s salespeople knew all the potential buyers personally. They can, and did, visit them in the privacy of their penthouses.
Yet Christie’s realised that those buyers would pay an extra few million for the privilege of owning a painting that was “iconic”. This isn’t some quirk of billionaire art collectors; it’s human nature. We value things more highly when we know that others value them.
In other news, I’m half through with How to Live, or a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer by Sarah Bakewell. My cynical response to advertising seems muted by Montaigne’s Pyrrhonism skepticism. It just seems simultaneously ridiculous and loveable. Or something.