What's the ROI of Van Gogh?

















How’s your art history?

True or false: During his time, Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most important painters in the world.

False: He died broke, crazy by some definitions. Most importantly, he was considered unimportant. Dude was sleeping on his brother’s couch before he committed himself to an asylum, one earlobe short.

Math quiz: If your ancestor had bought a painting from Van Gogh back in 1880, what would it be worth today?

That’s a trick question. Van Gogh only sold one painting throughout his entire life.

Next question: How many artists have entire museums devoted entirely to themselves?

Not many, but Vincent Van Gogh is one of them.

On a Tuesday afternoon last month, school children, retirees, and assorted travelers (including me and my family) were lined up down the block. The Van Gogh Museum was packed with people who paying to experience a guy who, during his life, was very much a failure.

Was he ahead of his time? Maybe. Did he have a marketing problem? Clearly.

One fact is very clear here: Society, culture, the people around Van Gogh really missed out. They were never able to have Van Gogh touch them with the beauty of his art, to be moved and inspired like the generations of us are today and as we will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

In fact, the people failed: Consumers, marketers, patrons, they failed to see what we see now.

Van Gogh wasn’t a failure; he just didn’t have the right timeframe for calculating his ROI.

Don’t make this mistake with your brand.

Break a sweat. Make an emotional connection with real human beings who might come to your museum.

Would people visit an Apple museum? Damn straight. Ever been to an Apple retail store? Would they spend time admiring the art created by Red Bull (Art of Can), Nike (Sport Is Art Collection)ScionRVCAPorsche? They do it all the time.

What are you doing to create art with your brand?