Watch How Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo Would Deal With Client Feedback in Funny Ad Spoof

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, “The Starry Night,” 1889 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Creative freelancers and people in the advertising industry know all about baseless feedback. What feels like a great and fresh idea is pitched to a client, only for it to be met with negative and unreasonably critical responses that take the soul out of the concept. The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) is aware that not even the best creators out there are safe from this. Even people like Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo would be met with skepticism had they ever tried their hand at advertising. Two clever videos commissioned by AICP imagine how these two iconic painters would deal with client feedback—something many creatives can relate to.

Directed by O Positive’s Brian Billow and created by agency BBDO, the clips were released ahead of the 2024 AICP Awards deadline of March 12, which is celebrating “museum-worthy” ideas. Fittingly, the winners of the competition will join the film archive of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. These funny ads for the 2024 Awards are aptly captioned with the tagline: “It's hard to make museum-worthy art. It's even harder to make museum-worthy ads.”

The Museum-Worthy video brings contemporary advertising drama to Van Gogh's studio. Dressed up in period clothing, two account executives approach the artist with their biggest smiles to relay the news: “The client loved the painting.” They're talking about The Starry Night, but that's not the end of the feedback. “They just found it a little, um, dark.” They then ask the Dutch artist if he could paint a “sunny day” instead, but keep the title because the client loves it. Of course, this completely changes the concept and the intention behind Van Gogh's work. It seems like an absurdist suggestion…but many creatives, especially those in advertising, can surely relate to this.

The video then makes a shift to 1930s Mexico, and Frida Kahlo is getting comments on her Self-portrait with monkey. Turns out one of the junior clients found the forehead area “off-putting and confrontational,” while the CMO's husband—a foreign entity to the process—simply didn't get it, making it “unrelatable.” Things don't get better for either of them. Van Gogh's painting failed with a focus group—”How can a painting fail?” he asks—so an 19th-century influencer with “a ton of followers” (aka a priest) is brought in. The Focus Group video goes into detail as to what went down with the focus group, who drag the painting in every possible way. Meanwhile, Kahlo gets suggestions for her self-portrait. Why not change the monkey for puppies? “People trust puppies,” says one of the execs, followed by another's supportive “It's proven.”

The whole exchange between the account executives and the creatives is hilarious and spot on. In fact, we dare say they are “museum-worthy.” Scroll down to watch both of these painfully funny videos below.

The Association of Independent Commercial Producers imagined what it'd look like if Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo had to deal with client feedback the way ad creatives do today.

One of their clips shows a period focus group—one of the advertising world's favorite tools—dragging Van Gogh's The Starry Night in every possible way.

AICP: Website
h/t: [Ad Age]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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