At the Fierce launch party I noticed a banner by the entrance. It was about 5ft high and covered in the logos of all the agencies, sponsors and other organsations who had funded the festival. It stood as a testament to the work Fierce had done in making the festival possible but it was also mildly ludicrous. What was the purpose of this banner? Did anyone actually look at it in detail and take it in? Whatever, the launch was a lot of fun and festival was a big success so I guess it didn’t matter.
On Wednesday I popped along to the Rhubarb Rhubarb Light Sale at Curzon St Station, another great arts event put on with a not insubstantial amount of sponsorship and funding. Hanging outside the venue were two huge banners flapping in the wind, one of which looks like this:
A little over a third of the notice is devoted to logos, most of which are illegible from the street and hardly any of which are of interest to the general punter. Hewlett Packard I get since they’re in the photo printing business and local establishment like the MAC have some recognition, but most of them are insider brands. And, frankly, it looks pretty naff, not to mention ugly. There’s no denying the involvement of government agencies and private industry is essential to arts provision in this age but when did this obsession with cramming all the brands in one aesthetic car crash become the acceptable norm? What train of thought leads a sponsor to say, yes, you can have a substantial amount of money but we insist you spoil your publicity by including our cryptic logo? And has anyone done any research into what effect all this has on the general public’s perception of the event? I suspect it might be a little negative, tainting the work with the notion that it’s taking money from sick children or something. I know when I see the “Arts Council Supported” logo I have to fight back prejudices even though I completely understand the importance of getting that funding.
Since this is the creative sector we’re talking about can’t we be a little more creative with how sponsorship is declared?
I’d welcome comments on this.