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.
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.
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.
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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
happy Thanksgiving. we’re doing this right before Advertising Solutions
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
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
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
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
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
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
, or go to our website JohnVerlin12@att.net
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All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017