Tchibo’s Picasso Stunt

May 14, 2007 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Art | 4 Comments
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I got an interesting comment today on one of my recent Picasso on sale at Tchibo’s posts. Auslaender writes:

Well, I was one from those ordering the lithograph!!
One week after, I got a very confusing e-mail from Tchibo explaining how they got to lithographs, and saying basically that those are not quite Picasso’s work, but made by Marcel Salinas on a behalf of Picasso’s granddaughter Marina, between 1979 and 1982 and MADE AFTER Picasso’s oils. Needless to say, I canceled the order. Of course, it was naive to believe that one can even get Picasso’s lithograph for that kind of money, even though I wouldn’t expect such a confidence trick from big player like Tchibo is. Further below you can find excerpts from Tchibo’s mail (in German).

“Die Galerie Burkhard Eikelmann in Düsseldorf, die Tchibo dieses Angebot vermittelt hatte, hat diese Lithographien entdeckt. Sie wurden in den ehemaligen Druckwerkstätten Picassos in Paris hergestellt, 25 Jahre unberührt in einem Lager eines Großhändlers in New York aufbewahrt, um schließlich ihren Weg zu Tchibo zu finden. Lithograph und Drucker war Marcel Salinas, der exklusiv für Pablo Picasso gearbeitet und diese Lithographien – posthum nach Picassos Tod – vom Stein gedruckt hat.”

“Die für die über Tchibo vertriebenen Lithographien benutzten Steindruckplatten wurden nach dem Druck von 1000 Exemplaren vernichtet, so dass ein Nachdruck der angebotenen Edition durch die eigens von Salinas hergestellten Druckplatten ausgeschlossen ist. Die Signatur Pablo Picassos wurde ebenfalls mit dem Stein gedruckt.”

Brief summary of the German blurb, provided by Tchibo in an email to Auslaender: A German gallery, Burkhard Eikelmann, acted as an agent to fix the deal with Tchibo. They had found the lithographs in Paris, where they were created in one of Picasso’s former print workshops, crafted by Marcel Salinas, one of the printers and lithographers with whom Picasso had worked. The stone which was used to print the lithographs – complete with the signature – were destroyed after a number of 1000 copies had been reached.

There is nothing to be found on Marcel Salinas in neither the German, French or English Wikipedia, and he’s not listed as one of Eikelmann’s artists (neither is Picasso – thank God!). So, judging by the name, I can only assume that our Marcel Salinas was the same one who created this poster. Up to scratch with Picasso? You decide.

I’m still having problems with my computer, but hopefully my new harddrive will arrive soon. This does, however, tremendously affect the amount of time I get to spent online – no internet at home. Which is why I won’t have the time today to complete the ‘Blog Traffic Series’ – coming up tomorrow. Also, I am beginning to lag behind in my blog reading – opening Google reader is one of my habitual morning rituals which I cannot iterate at the moment:-(

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The folks over at Tchibo are looking at this blog

May 9, 2007 at 7:42 am | Posted in Marketing, Viral, Web 2.0 | 9 Comments
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More specifically at a recent post about their Picasso package on special offer. How do I know? The blog stats told me: I had a total of 14 visitors come in via http://forum.tchibo-intranet.de/topic.asp?whichpage=3&ARCHIVE=&TOPIC_ID=5696 – you won’t be able to access this site, because it’s on their intranet and not accessible from the outside. Which means that somebody from Tchibo found and posted a link to this site in their forums. So let’s see what is going to happen now:

a) NOTHING: If the folks at Tchibo are all cool and down with the web 2.0 , they won’t do anything but secretly laugh up their sleeve for having made it onto the blogosphere. I didn’t exactly praise them for selling off one of the 20th century’s most influential artists as a bargain, but it’s the attention that counts anyway (AND they got a direct link to their sales pages, even if the turnover might be minimal).

b) SOMETHING: If they’re just as anxious as that program director from the European Graduate School (who felt the need to admonish me for “not having done my homework” a while ago when I wrote what I thought about their program) they’ll come up with SOME attempt to control their product communication, even though that’s entirely futile. One can’t have viral marketing without the loss of control, and if that’s what they want, then they should probably switch to the Tupperware marketing concept. Buy only from a selected dealer at your own home.

P.S.: Tchibo is a German coffee chain, but their biggest source of revenue isn’t coffee, but the gifts and household articles which they sell in their shops and online. Once a week, they introduce a new range of themed products, with about four themes on sale at a time – a concept that works pretty well in the themed world of consumer capitalism. I admit that I bought a bag of green plastic crystals from them just a little while ago, because I thought the crystals looked like Superman’s Kryptonite (and who wouldn’t want to have a pocket full of Kryptonite):

Pocket full of kryponite

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