Getting the experiment wrong

banksy-booth
On October 12th, the artist Banksy set up a stall in New York selling signed canvases for $60. Banksy didn’t announce it, but released a video the next day.

Banksy fans across the globe were probably mortified that 1. they missed it, and 2. these people walking by didn’t appreciate the opportunity!

Personally, I think Banksy set it up to fail on purpose because it would make a bigger splash.

Experiment design 101: who is the customer, and how do you get to them?

I would argue that Banksy’s fans, in terms of a general concentration, are not strolling on the outskirts of Central Park on the Upper East Side. They are downtown. They are in Brooklyn.

Now this was a bit of a PR stunt, in my opinion, but as you think about your experiments, don’t forget to ask who your customer is and how you get to the right people. If you don’t, you could be setting your experiment up for failure, and end up with little learnings that you can trust.

  • kazoo

    I think Banksy set it up to devalue the work that prominent collectors have already bought from him. As you point out, it was his intention to fail.

    It’s actually very clever marketing. Once Banksy is recognized as an establishment artist rather than a leftfield provocateur, all his work is devalued on a conceptual level. So I think he did this to save himself – while producing a piece of performance art questioning the value the formal art market gives his work.

    • Interesting. I agree it was good marketing, but I disagree about his value. The more he enters the mainstream, the more valuable his work will be. Supply and demand. But I don’t think he wants that.