Sure, everyone loves sitting down to their favorite HBO drama—Oz, Game of Thrones, The Wire, Girls, True Detective, Sex and the City—on a widescreen TV. But here’s a high concept: Artist renditions of selected characters and scenes from your favorite series as larger-than-life gallery pieces.
That’s the idea behind an interactive art exhibition-slash-ad campaign for yes, Israel’s satellite television operator, in conjunction with HBO, the series’ sponsor.
The initiative, designed to generate publicity for yesOh, a channel that broadcasts mostly HBO series, was launched by the creative team at D/TALES, a Tel Aviv-based ad agency.
“We wanted to do an artistic campaign for a long time now, and working with yes was the perfect match,” said Daniel Barak, the agency’s creative director, in an email. “We believe that yes and HBO have the most interesting content in the world: It affects people, it angers people, it makes people happy and sad, it is art, and most of all, it makes people want to create—that was our insight,” he said.
More that 30 artists were selected to interpret their favorite scenes for each show, replacing a traditional ad campaign. The campaign occupies Israel’s largest shopping center, converting it into a huge art gallery, with some of the works reaching billboard size of 27 meters (some 89 feet). All the art is on canvas and framed, though some of the works actually use the building structure’s shapes to create contextual art pieces.
Gathering 30 artists together for this sort of unified project was no easy feat. From concept to execution, the project took about four months.
Then there was getting the shopping center on board, including delivering architectural sketches of the 1970s-era building. Finally, there was the interactive piece—a Hebrew-language mobile smartphone guide to the project so both on-site and remote viewers could understand the idea behind the exhibition, get information about the artists and the art works, and access additional content.
The decision to go big was based on the scope of the artistic achievement of the programming. “HBO deserves big,” Barak said. “At first, we were looking at traditional art galleries, but then we realized that we wanted tens of thousands of people to be able to enjoy it every day. That’s why we chose to go with the county’s busiest shopping center and to create an art gallery like never before.”
That idea emerged as something of an evolution, as the agency first considered and then scrapped a more traditional approach. “We did, in fact, prepare a more traditional approach, which was supposed to celebrate HBO’s masterpieces with art on smartphone covers to be handed out through the yesFacebook page, but happily yes and HBO saw the potential in this exhibition,” Barak said.
A website also showcases the art-in-progress as the artists work on their paintings and sculptures.
Barak has been gratified by the public response so far. Viewers are using the mobile guide to share the exhibit on social networks and to receive posters from the exhibition’s pop up store.
The posters are selected artworks from the exhibition that people can take home with them if they use the mobile guide. “We had to reprint all the posters several times, as people take around 1000 posters an hour,” Barak said.
The exhibition will continue until April 22.