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Oil and water, chalk and cheese; some things in life just don’t go together. And while you wouldn’t be mistaken for assuming that tattoos and gold leaf lettering are also an unlikely combination, Adobe has used both art forms as the basis of its ad, marrying highbrow with lowbrow.

In the campaign for Photoshop, Adobe teamed up with Edelman to create a series of minimally branded ‘Collabograms’ that highlight the impressive results that can come from unlikely collaborations. In the spot, a tattoo artist and a creative specialising in gold leaf lettering came together to create a piece of art named ‘Zero Compromise’, in which they created a shrine to late Motörhead frontman Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister. "The audience we’re targeting is what we call the New Creative,” says Lex van den Berghe, product manager at Adobe. “Artists who don't limit themselves to one medium, but pull from multiple influences and materials to express themselves."

Unlikely bedfellows collaborate for something beautiful
Adobe Photoshop (2016) ©

This isn’t the first time a brand has taken influence from an unlikely place – earlier in 2016, luxury watchmaker Hublot collaborated with London-based tattooist Maxime Buchi to create a limited edition timepiece. Both brands have exemplified the power of harnessing niche communities – which are increasingly lucrative, as contemporary culture becomes more fragmented. As Wired editor Chris Anderson comments in his book The Long Tail, “our economy and culture is shifting from mass markets to million of niches.”

Ultimately, the campaign demonstrates an innate understanding of the many communities and subcultures that comprise Adobe’s audience. And it doesn’t stop with this first installment – collaborations in the pipeline include an illustrator and a chef, and an embroiderer and an iron worker. Adobe has placed itself – and its product – at the intersection of each of these professions; a tool that can inspire and enable creativity universally.

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Hannah Callaghan is an account executive at Canvas8. As an Advertising Management graduate, she’s an expert in all things celebrity and pop culture.

19 Sep 16

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