Natural Light Illustrates College Debt Crisis with $ 470 Million Art Installation
- Natural Light visualizes the US college debt crisis through what it billed for “the world’s most expensive work of art,” according to information emailed to Marketing Dive.
- Located in Vanderbilt Hall in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, the “Da Vinci of Debt” installation is made up of 2,600 authentic diplomas awarded by graduate students. Natural Light calculated the average total cost of a four-year college education based on Student Loan Hero data to value the coin at $ 470 million, a figure exceeding Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi,” the table which cost the highest price piece of art sold at auction when it was purchased for $ 450 million in 2017.
- The Anheuser-Busch-owned beer brand has partnered with Snapchat to recreate the ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ experience in augmented reality (AR) through a personalized lens. As student loan forgiveness continues to be a hot political topic, Natural Light’s ambitious riff on the art world may resonate more with cash-strapped consumers.
Targeting a younger clientele of drinkers, Natural Light has made college debt relief an increasingly central part of its marketing strategy. The brand launched an annual college debt relief program in 2018, handing out $ 1 million to students under financial pressure. Now, the “Da Vinci of Debt” represents the iteration of marketing’s most ambitious concept to date, blending experiential and virtual elements at a time when student loan remission is in the political spotlight.
Natural Light is also making fun of the art world with a towering exhibit at Grand Central Terminal which opened today and will run through Saturday. In a press release, the brand referred to Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian”, a single banana duct stuck to a wall that sold for $ 120,000 at Art Basel in 2019, triggering a controversial speech in the art trade world.
“The art world is filled with absurd price tags that most people find impossible to justify,” Daniel Blake, vice president of value brands at Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement. “That’s what made it the perfect medium for this campaign. It’s a very apt analogy for the outrageous cost of attending a typical four-year college.”
Natural Light adopted last February a “highly classified plan” for pay people $ 100 via the Cash application to praise their degrees, and the “Da Vinci of Debt” is the culmination of this work. Decision to unveil the piece at Grand Central Terminal could limit consumer exposure, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to decimate pedestrian traffic to hubs. However, the transit station has recently welcomed new arts to its halls, including a giant glass sculpture by contemporary artist Jim Hodges, by untapped New York.
Natural Light is also trying to cover its bases with a Snapchat partnership that allows people over the age of 21 to recreate the ‘Da Vinci of Debt’ from the comfort of their own homes via AR. Users can tap into certain aspects of the virtual exhibit to learn more about the college debt crisis and Natural Light’s efforts to alleviate debt.
The beer brand is entering the fourth year of a $ 10 million plan for college debt relief, as college debt is expected to hit a record high of $ 1.7 trillion this year, according to the Federal Reserve data cited by Natural Light. President-elect Joe Biden recently asked Congress to do so immediately cancel the first $ 10,000 of student debt for borrowers, another signal that the incoming administration may prioritize the problem.