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Can you sell a £350,000 watch on a free app?

In 2013, the CMO of Christie’s wanted to launch an app to give clients the chance to view items coming up for sale.

He asked Verbal Identity to produce creative work to launch the app. He had one question: how do you make an expensive work of art sit comfortably on a free app without devaluing it?

Buying art is not always a rational activity

If you’ve ever sat in the auction rooms at Christie’s, you can feel the air thicken when the price races past $10m: something takes over the room. And when there are only two bidders left, the price rises even faster.

Buying art is usually an impulsive behaviour and we realised that this was the key to how to project the role of the app: it wasn’t a catalogue on your iPhone, it was a chance to indulge your passion and spontaneity.

Verbal Identity commissioned one of London’s leading photographers and worked with him to give the ads a ‘half real-half abstract’ sense: this not only served the creative idea, it also preserved the high value of the items.