Brands like to leverage culture

Greg Salmela
1 min readDec 7, 2022

Once a popular artist’s work enters the public domain, it seems it’s only a matter of time before it’s appropriated by some brand.

But when it comes to the art of a celebrated icon, a brand needs to be worthy of the association.

Apple’s “Think Different” campaign was associated with cultural figures like John and Yoko Lennon, and Pablo Picasso. The campaign worked because as a brand, Apple had already earned a cultural status among the creative class. More importantly, the idea at the centre of the campaign was bigger than Apple.

When Gucci dropped its “Exquisite” campaign this summer featuring outfits inspired by Stanley Kubrick films, while the fashion press seemed to be onboard, the public was less enthused.

One Instagram commenter (@MapkCabeb) remarked, “That’s so wrong. Reducing all ideas of cinema to a visual marketing campaign. These guys have obviously no clue of what Kubrick had to say. Advertising by recycling people’s art is truly parasitizing your imagination…”


Aegis is a strategy and design practice that builds emotionally-intelligent brands and organizations.



Greg Salmela

Hanging with human-centred thinkers, researchers and designers.