Andy Warhol was a sellout, and he’d have been the first one to admit it. The artist, who upon moving to New York put in time as a commercial illustrator, knew how to brand himself, and would lend his name to a series of products and labels throughout his career. So it was with equal parts irony and earnestness, Warhol posted an ad in a 1968 issue of the Village Voice offering up his merchandising services for “clothing, AC-DC, cigarettes, small tapes, sound equipment, ROCK 'N’ ROLL RECORDS, anything…”
He wasn’t kidding. In the early 1980s, Perrier commissioned Warhol for a series of 40 or so screenprints that featured the company’s teardrop bottles. The posters, which were used for an ad campaign that eventually won the 1983 Grand Prix de l’Affiche Française, have in recent years popped up in several auctions, with some examples fetching upward of $45,000. Now, for a new summer campaign, Perrier is reproducing some of the works on limited-edition bottles.
The specially themed bottles, including both the classic glass and newer plastic models, will feature colorful labels bearing tiny facsimiles of four of Warhol’s Perrier prints. The labels will also be etched with various (tired) Warholisms, including several famous quotes such as: “In the future everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes”; or “Art is what you can get away with.” Warhol’s signature is scrawled just below the bottles’ trademark bulge.
The campaign is part of Perrier’s 150th anniversary, a series of year-long celebratory promotions that illustrate the brand’s affiliation with the creative arts. In a statement, Perrier international Marketing Manager Gauthier Gay explained the strategy underlying the Warhol tie-in: “Warhol’s inventive open-minded spirit lives on through this unique and authentic project which will contribute generously to the foundation’s endowment from which it distributes grants in support of the visual arts."
In addition to the specially branded bottles, Perrier will launch a summer-long sweepstakes to raffle off an original Warhol screenprint. The “Take Home a Warhol” competition runs from June 24 to September 30, during which time Perrier drinkers can enter to win “Space Fruit: Lemons,” a Warhol work that dates from 1978. “Andy Warhol once said that Pop Art is for everyone, and by giving away a Warhol piece of art Perrier is keeping this sentiment alive,” Gay said. If you don’t end up winning, you can always buy a couple packs of the new bottles and wait for the 175th anniversary to sell them off.