Dec 10, 2009 at 05:27 PM
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The Neuroscience of Art Sponsorship

Art, like all other sectors of sponsorship, is not immune from the economic downturn. But while some business shed expenses, other brands like Rolex are sticking out art sponsorships, recognizing the powerful, if not perfectly quantifiable, consumer goodwill and relationship building value that the medium can provide. But if author Robin Wright is right, the real value of art sponsorships might lie in cold, hard science somewhere deep within the consumer's subconscious.

In his book, The Peacock's Tail and the Reputation Reflex: The Neuroscience of Art Sponsorship, Wright draws on genetics, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, new learnings, new science and cognitive psychology to make a case for arts sponsorships:

The reputation reflex describes a specific area of the brain that was wired up hundreds of thousands of years ago to displays mimicking those of a peacock's tail (of which art sponsorship itself is but one). The evidence shows that this response system is automatic and can override objections that a conscious mind might make to the idea that a business is wasting money on sponsoring something so ephemeral as art.

Paradoxically, it is precisely because the act of art sponsorship is apparently wasteful that it has its signalling power.

Okay, nevermind. Just watch this video from Sky Arts:

Science would seem like a nice antidote to the cries of spending accountability, but are you buying Wright's theory? Could the simple appearance of expenses that are not core to the bottom line actually enhance a company's reputation index and ultimately drive new business? Weigh in with your thoughts.

Thanks to Tim Crow, CEO of U.K. sponsorship firm, Synergy, for sending us a note about this.