The future of advertising with KRPT – art, not ads

We’ve got a question for you – and be honest when you answer.

Say you’re online, watching a video and an ad comes up. If that ad gives you the option to skip it, do you? We do – and we’re certainly not alone.

But, what if that ad was able to really tap into your world and make a connection with you? Would you skip it then? Or, what if it was part of something more immersive? What if, instead of an ad, you were faced with a piece of art? Would you skip art?

My guests on this episode are Inder Phull and Tom Molyneux, co-founders of KRPT, a global network of creators that is all about making art, not ads. Following on from an excellent article Inder wrote for The Native a few weeks ago, we’re continuing the conversation in this episode and digging into the future of advertising.

We talk about how brands can meaningfully collaborate with artists, how advertising can change lives and why we need to shift our focus from how many impressions your ad makes, to how many lives your campaign changes.

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Show notes

Inder Phull and Tom Molyneux are the co-founders of KRPT. You can find both on LinkedIn – Inder is here and Tom is here. KRPT has a network of artists that they work with to help brands access culture.

This conversation was sparked by a cracking article written by Inder for The Native about creating art, not ads – check that out.

For KRPT, advertising 2018 is in a mixed place. Display ads and pre-rolls don’t really resonate and we’ve got the ability to skip ads, which causes a challenge for brands.

I don’t think ads are in a terrible place, but I don’t think priorities are aligned…there can sometimes be a focus on performance at the expense of the creative side.

Audiences are getting more savvy and people are expecting more from brands than just adverts.

People don’t skip art, but they will skip ads. KRPT aren’t just getting people to watch ads, they want to create something that resonates and builds a relationship between brand and audience. Or, you can even change lives, like Skepta and Levis are doing with their music project. Do that, and your brand will be authentically cemented in culture.

There have been some great examples of brands collaborating with musicians, with artists creating songs that almost double-up as adverts. They’re effective because they’re genuine and, after all, they’re pieces of music – they don’t feel like adverts.

The great thing about those examples is that the brands used the artist in the right way…it’s a brilliant way of using their art in an authentic way.

And it’s not confined to grime/urban music – in rock music, brands like Gibson and Fender will support musicians and you’re likely to see their products in music videos.

When you do these collaborations in the right way, the artists don’t tend to get accused on being sell-outs either – if it’s a good fit and it’s done in the right way, people won’t question it. In fact, a brand can play a big role in an artist’s career and audiences will understand that.

One of the big campaigns of this year has been Nike’s ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ ad, which worked because of intelligently the brand segmented content by location and got relevant individuals to take part. Not only that, the brand was in the background.

The creative was done brilliantly but it was an ad, I wouldn’t count it as art.

This approach can be a risk for brands – Pepsi and Kendall Jenner springs to mind – especially if there is a disconnect between the boardroom and the audience. You need to involve the creator as early as possible.

You really need to make sure that it will genuinely resonate.

People are still getting it wrong – for example, Puma’s campaign that seems to glamourise drug culture in London.

To support culture in the right way you shouldn’t glamorise the negatives – you should support culture, not exploit it.

There’s a difference here with influencer marketing, which is often simply brands latching onto reach and impressions. What KRPT advocates is brands actually looking at creating stuff that resonates, and really has influence. That being said, there are some spaces – fashion and makeup for instance – where sponsored posts definitely work.

The brands that will be able to do influencer marketing in the long run are building their own networks…it’s about creating a network that are genuine ambassadors for your brand.

KRPT is also interested in advertising that takes influence from gaming and creating immersive experiences. For example, Burger King’s campaign to hunt jalapeños or Domino’s Piece of the Pie campaign.

It’s important to be memorable, but you need to see each touchpoint as being a different level of a game and evolve the experience of how you interact with advertising. Look at how Ikea created an ad with a pregnancy test.

Advertising is very predictable. The brands that can create surprises experiences are the ones that will do well…the advertising industry can learn a lot from the gaming industry.

More brands are starting projects that can change lives – Red Bull has studios, there’s the House of Vans and even Nando’s has started a studio recently. Not only do these campaigns change lives, but they can result in a hub of amazing content for the brand’s social media channels – it helps the community and supports the brand objectives.

Another fascinating example is the rise of NFC technology, in particular with NFC chips being installed in basketball jerseys and footballs. You then register your shirt to your own profile on an app, which is an instant win for the shirt brands.

Looking ahead, Inder and Tom want to help educate brands on how they can marry up business objectives with doing something culturally engaging.

The metrics of success need to change from how many people did you reach to how many lives did you change.

Inder and Tom’s top three tips for making art, not ads

  1. Work with gatekeepers that understand the scene and the nuances of the type of culture you’re trying to enter

2. Support talent to break through – it’s about working with artists, not influencers

3. Brands need to create a platform where this can operate on


Inder took part in our traditional closing feature

5 apps on your phone you use the most

Mail, calendar, Uber, Instagram, True Skate

4 people you’d like to invite round for dinner

Leonardo Da Vinci, John Lennon, Marie Curie and Steve Jobs

3 words to describe what it’s like working for KRPT

Life-changing experience

2 places/events in the world you’d really love to visit but haven’t been able to yet

Burning Man festival and Peru – Machu Picchu in particular

1 social media platform you love more than any of the others

Resident Advisor

Find out more

Inder Phull and Tom Molyneux are the co-founders of KRPT. You can find both on LinkedIn – Inder is here and Tom is here. KRPT has a network of artists that they work with to help brands access culture.

Thanks to #ASDIE18

The Native Podcast is brought to you by ASDIE, the Annual Summit for Digital Innovation in Education, which takes place in London on Thursday 19 July. Book your ticket now, and use the code POD10 to get a 10% discount!


The Native Podcast is hosted and produced by Dave Musson, our editor-in-chief.

Our music is by Broke For Free and is used under Creative Commons.

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