Meet The Shortlisters: Art Connects Us

By Brett McKenzie Posted on Mar 08, 2018

Lexi Leinenkugel shares how Twyla brings artists and influencers together for shortlisted campaign

The Call for Entries period of The One Show 2018 is over, and now our team shifts towards preparing for final judging. And while most agencies scrambled through to the bitter end to get their entries ready, some took advantage of our quarterly entry periods to submit their work much earlier in the year. These entries have already gone through preliminary rounds of judging, with the top scoring entries making the shortlist, moving directly to the final round next month.

Ahead of the final round of judging, we are highlighting some of the shortlisted work, focusing on the smaller agencies on the playing field. Our next shortlisted entry is "Art Connects Us", a self-promotion campaign by Austin's Twylawhich was shortlisted in the Social Influencer category. We caught up with Lexi Leinenkugel, Twyla's Marketing Manager, Content + Creative, to chat about how combining artists and influencers makes good business sense — and a very beautiful story.


For those who may be unaware, tell us what Twyla is all about.

Lexi: Twyla is a contemporary art site that offers limited edition prints by vetted artists. Twyla is on a mission to bring affordable contemporary art into homes and offices across America while creating a new revenue stream for artists and the organizations that support them. 

How did “Art Connects Us” come about? What inspired the influencer aspect, as opposed to, say, a traditional advertising campaign to promote Twyla?

Twyla advocates for an “art first” outlook, inspiring customers to purchase artwork for their homes based on visceral connections to the artwork. The goal of the campaign was to highlight how art brings together artists and audiences to ignite and shape connections and conversations. Art can be an intimidating topic, so it was important for us to convey how inviting and rich of an experience engaging with art can be. We decided to achieve this by selecting creative influencers with diverse backgrounds and interests to have conversations with the artists about their Twyla pieces. We selected the influencers based not solely on their social media presence, but on their careers and personal passions and how that aligned with Twyla’s artists’ concepts and artworks.

We decided to do an influencer-led campaign to highlight the positive shift taking place in the art world towards more inclusive and accessible digital platforms and social media channels. Ultimately, we want people to realize that owning beautiful, reasonably priced art that they love and connect with in both their homes and offices is attainable, and Twyla is the best resource for discovering and purchasing those pieces.  

"Art can be an intimidating topic, so it was important for us to convey how inviting and rich of an experience engaging with art can be."

A successful social influencer campaign relies on the clout of the influencers. How did you decide which of your artists to pair with which influencers? Did any unexpected moments come out of the unique pairings?

An underlying theme runs through all of the artist-influencer pairings, and some were more obvious than others at first. For example, artist James Gortner and fashion-icon Iris Apfel both have a very similar creative process for sourcing materials from unexpected places — Gortner repurposes old, discarded paintings into bright, lively portraits, while Apfel scours vintage stores and unassuming shops to achieve her bold, eclectic looks. In another pairing, artist Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos, whose works are a commentary on the effects of social media on society, and app developer Rameet Chawla connected based on their shared interests in technology and social media. For the most part, none of our artists and influencers had met each other prior to the campaign, so the fact that the pairs connected so quickly and genuinely in person was quite serendipitous. In fact, some of the pairs still maintain their friendships such as interior designer Young Huh and artist Adler Guerrier, and James Gortner offered to do a portrait of Iris Apfel after meeting during the campaign photo shoot.  

Although it’s hard to talk metrics when a campaign strikes a visceral, emotional chord, how do you feel the “Art Connects Us” campaign did, numbers-wise?

"Art Connects Us" was rolled out over a number of weeks via social media, so we were able to see positive, sustained engagement throughout the duration of the campaign. By the end of the campaign, Twyla received a 22% increase in Instagram followers and a 10% increase in Facebook followers. The campaign had over 224,000 video views and 260,000 post engagements, with engagement rates exceeding 13%!

We also saw higher than normal engagement rates back on our shopping experience, The campaign wasn’t developed to drive direct sales, but we did see an increase in visitors entering the shopping flow and eventually converting into customers.

What’s next for Twyla? What new work should the world be keeping an eye out for? After all, as this year’s campaign says, if you win you’ll become “famous famous”!

Twyla recently hired Thomas Galbraith as our new CEO and we are excited about the initiatives he has underway for 2018. A big focus for us this year is concentrating on finding new ways to support local artists in local regions, starting with our hometown of Austin, Texas. We’re also excited to further our goal of making great art accessible everywhere by creating a subscription service to bring art to corporations.  


The final rounds of judging for both The One Show 2018 and the ADC 97th Annual Awards begin in mid-March, but it's not too early to think about securing tickets for the respective award shows, which will take place during Creative Week this May 7–11



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