On Demand Advertising Solutions Blog: 3 Bizarre Business Marketing Lessons I Learned In Art Class, Podcast #45

I’m probably the worst artist I’ve ever seen. I’m not even able to pen a good signature.


We all have various talents. However, I was determined to give the art side of my brain a workout.

art palette

I never really felt so much pressure on my brain, to render me into a semi-translucent haze.

In podcast #45, John D. Verlin discusses three bizarre business marketing lessons he learned from an art class the pushed him to the brink!

Thus began my journey into taking pastel art lessons at the Kansas City Art Institute in 2010.

kxtr logo
This was one of the later logo’s after it moved from 96.5 FM to 1660-AM.

While I advertising sales at Kansas City’s classical station, KXTR, I was always looking for a new idea or promotion to pitch to prospective sponsors.

I contacted the marketing director at the Kansas City Art Institute (Walt Disney was one of the founders), to see if they would be interested in a promotion.


How one person views your brand may be something totally different to another. Some ideas on how to keep it on a growth trajectory.

It’s all a part of our three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic and make your business exceed the profile and exposure of your competitors with an extended marketing platform–the perfect compliment to a Google Adwords campaign!

You may learn more about us and schedule a free appointment.

You may listen to all of our exclusive audio podcasts here.

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Now, enjoy the video podcast!

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Marketing Your Business; 3 Bizarre Business Marketing Lessons I Learned in Art Class, Podcast #45!

Host: John D. Verlin



And once again good afternoon,  John Verlin with On Demand

Advertising Solutions happy Thanksgiving. we’re doing this right before

Thanksgiving cutting out a little early today. I want to wish everybody

a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Three bizarre business marketing lessons I learned in art class,  podcast

number 45.

I want to share with you a fun promotional story, this is all true by the

way I couldn’t make this up.

Years  ago, if you’re looking on this blog post you see a logo of a classical

radio station called kxtr in Kansas City.

I worked in advertising sales for 20 years there, got to be good

friends with the program director. His name is Patrick and we were

always goofing around and cutting jokes.  And you know I getting

involved in a lot of things in the community the arts things like that.

And I was always because I was in sales looking  for a sponsor of any

kind of promotion I could come up with some an angle a creative angle.

And I would use these for a lot of the small business owners

I worked with said you know what we did a promotion a

month agothat dah dah dah dah dah.

I like that idea,  let’s do that. And you never knew what would work

or wouldn’t.  Well,  one idea we had, this was actually kind of selfish

on my part.  Actually Patrick’s more so. Neither one of us could draw

worth beans.  I mean literally my handwriting

looked like a horror story.  And he couldn’t draw either.

So we decided, let’s contact the Kansas City Art Institute.

We had worked with them before.  A prominent art school in

Kansas City adjacent to the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Walt Disney I believe was one of the founders of the Art Institute.

So we knew the marketing director called her up and had this idea.

And she loved it.  And here’s the idea.If she would let Patrick and I

take pastel classes for 13 weeks at the Art Institute and let us put

those up on our radio station website, we’ll talk about it the day

after in the morning show what we learned. And let listeners go

view what we did.

And at the end of 13 weeks, we’ll  have a contest we’ll have them

vote on who the better artist is. We’ll have them draw a name of

those who voted,  And they would end up winning pastel classes.

They loved the idea. But Patrick didn’t want just any old pastels no

he wanted Sommelier pastels.

These were the French pastel Sommelier,  whatever his name was,

that were in mahogany cases, like a suitcase.

Where there were 500 of them. Chalk, gorgeous silk everything.

And they’re $500. I said Patrick let’s just get 20.  I mean we’re

not Monet.Well no no I want  these these nice pastels.

So we go to Keith’s Coldsnow  art supplies.  They were leading

art supplier for years in Kansas City.

Told him the idea. He goes oh I love it. I’ll give you whatever

you need. So these two dufusses go to art class the  first night

carrying about $700 worth of art materials.

And they’re about ten other artists in this class. Some were sculptors,

some were oil painters some were just regular moms and dads.

And they told them what we were doing, you know what Patrick and

I were doing. And we had to look ridiculous. I mean,  we had no

clue what we’re doing.

We actually each bought handwriting 101 or drawing 101.

Might as well have been hand draw. I mean literally, I had no depth


I mean,  I could do photo you know,  poetry and photography

and writing and all that.

But this was way out of my league.

Same with Patrick. So it was a perfect stooge set up so to speak.

So, anyway we take these classes first night.  We draw a bowl of fruit.

And technically,  my brother said that was my best thing that I did

in the 13 week course.

But it was hard. I mean literally, this is this is like giving an elephant a paint

can and stepping all over a canvas and see what shows up.

Literally I mean I had no clue what I was doing. I had no depth perception.

no drawing experience. All my drawings and doodles were terrible.

They were geometric headaches.

I mean they were you know, nightmares actually.

So we did this class. We talked the next morning, on the morning show

about what we learned.

Had listeners go to the website to see what we posted there.

I was embarrassed to post them. But we did, and at the end of each

class we would put them up on the wall and critique each other,

which I didn’t expect. Well, they didn’t tell us by the way

we were gonna be doing nudes.

So we did one lady, very attractive.

Shocked me but this is an art institute. Right, it’s higher art.

So we did our nude. Several weeks later, we did a second nude.

Unfortunately,  this woman was rather large. And unfortunately I didn’t get

the perception quite right. I made her look like a gorilla actually.

I made her look like a local restaurant owner somebody

said that looked like a gorilla. I don’t know.  So we do these

things right,  in there every week we’re critiquing.

And, finally the thirteenth week I’m exhausted. I mean literally,

three hours a week in the evening of hard concentrated effort,

squeezing that side of my brain to try to be creative in that medium.

That realm. and by the way,  some of these other artists weren’t

that great either. Even though they were good in sculpting

or something.

So that taught me you don’t necessarily transfer one talent of a medium

to another. Now if you look at Paul McCartney and guys like that

who can do or John Lennon you know. Songwriting, singing, art

poets you know. They’ve got multi talents. They play instruments you


But I could not draw okay so I thought okay now we’re getting to

the lessons. Here are the bizarre business marketing lessons I learned

in this art class.

Alright, so final night they had a bowl of cookies you

know with icing on them. And little faces on one.

I’s a yellow iced cookie and I drew that thing.

And I am telling you folks. I felt like a, it looked like a five-year-old

in kindergarten literally. I was so humiliated. I started to wad it

up and the teacher goes no no no no no don’t throw it away.

put it up put it up.

And I’m like,  ma’am I’m sorry but I am the worst artist in this room.

I’m humiliated. I just can’t finish I no no no no put it up so they

put it up  several of them liked it, really.  Well then it dawned on me

later, years later.

if an elephant can sell why can’t I?

You know. cause they sell these elephant paintings, stomping on whatever.

So we end up with 13 weeks over. We finished the deal. We

put all of our stuff up on the website.

We now have listeners vote. Now, before I tell you what the outcome

was I’m gonna go ahead and tell you the lessons I learned.

Three lessons, bazaar business marketing lessons I learned in this art


Number one, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Think about applying these quote lessons that I paid for in sheer

terror and sweat and exhaustion.

I’m just kidding. Well, I’m not kidding but think about these lessons

how you apply to your business in marketing because your perception

of what you think is something may be just the opposite to somebody


So it’s definitely in the eye of the beholder.

Testing ideas, number two and retesting can possibly help confirm

your suspicions of what is good or what is bad.

What will work, what won’t work.

Marketers do this all the time. If you’re a new business or you’ve not

had a lot of marketing experience, the secret is testing you’re like a scientist.

You’re testing different combinations. Maybe if you put the word free in

that ad it’ll change everything. These are things I’ve learned over the


That it could it could be a phrase, it could be an image

anything. Because if you have the best product or service in

the world and no one knows about it it doesn’t really matter.

That’s why marketing is so critical. It’s easier now in a way with

these new platforms to measure and to get the word

out to targeted audiences.

But just still got to go with the regular marketing principles of testing and

retesting and all.

And finally the third observation or lesson I learned in this class was that

gut instinct is still needed in spite of the data big data small

data artificial intelligence.

There is still that human gut instinct, the intuition something that

feels. That’s what I learned of my artwork in this class.

There was a feeling that was conveyed to people through that cookie

believe it or not.

And I didn’t know this. I didn’t guess it. I I presumed of what my

image of beauty was.

And believe me, it was bad. But okay the results of what happened

with the survey or the contest.

The listeners who judged our artwork at our website including some

wrote emails. I knew who had heard about us or

heard us talking about this and went to the website.

Said John, I figured I want to see what you guys did.

Because I figured if you guys could do that anybody

can do it. and he was right.

50/50 of who the better artist was right down the middle.

We counted the votes. I forgot. A hundred of them or so.

But a number of these listeners,  now these are this is a

classical music audience.

These guys these folks are sophisticated. They’re educated.

A number of them said quote I really like John’s whimsical

cookie. Whimsical cookie. I never thought of it that way.

I saw it as a five-year-old’s artwork in kindergarten or

an attempt at art and they liked it. They really liked it.

So three bizarre business marketing lessons I learned in that art


And by the way,  they ended up they doubled the

size of the class the next semester from our promotion. They

loved it. The art people loved it.

Matter of fact the winner got 13 weeks plus free pastels and supplies

by Keith’s coldsnow.

And they have all had a great time with it and we did – now this was

three months long so it gave us some shelf space and some leverage

with the listeners.

Well I hope you got something out of this to apply towards your


A true life experience with this that goes for

marketing as well. Gut instincts,  it’s still alive.  Beauty is

not always in the eye of the beholder, of what you may presume.

To keep testing and retesting ideas. That’s exactly what Thomas

Edison did.

All the great inventors. Nobody came walking out

of the box going oh I got this. Well maybe Steve Jobs did but

he had some experience I guess.

At any rate,  John Verlin On Demand advertising Solutions.

Get hold of me at JohnVerlin12@att.net, or go to our website


And by the way,  we’ve got a Digital Marketing Update

special newsletter you can sign up for to follow that

we’ll be sending to your inbox every month.

These are going to be a little bit different than these podcasts

as far as information, tips,  ideas entrepreneurial

thoughts of what has worked what will work suggestions

things like that.

That are coming from entrepreneurs I’m

talking to and also then gaining data things like that. Go ahead

and follow it.

We’ll talked again

All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas

Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017

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