Adobe's Billie Eilish Fan Art Contest Draws Beautifully Haunting Entries

Gen Z targeted initiative gets 8,000 submissions

Sarah, a 16-year-old student from Australia, can't escape the malicious monsters that haunt her nightmares because no matter how fast she runs, "it's always like I'm helplessly trudging through the very depths of the ocean." 

Luckily, some sweet prizes are waiting when she wakes up. 

Sarah recently captured one of her dream-visions, in which the ocean morphed into a spiderweb, using Adobe Creative Cloud and assets provided by teenage emo-pop sensation Billie Eilish. The singer/songwriter asked fans to craft visual responses to her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, for an Adobe-sponsored contest. 

Here's the video Eilish recorded introducing the contest: 

Billie Eilish on How Dreams Influence her Music for #BILLIExADOBE | Adobe Creative Cloud

From 8,000 submissions, Sarah's entry floated to the top. She gets to hang with Eilish at one of the artist's upcoming shows, along with winning $1,000, a signed album, a one-year Creative Cloud subscription and other stuff.
 
Peep her grand-prize winner below (eww, spiders!).


Grand Prize Winner: @millwizard

Adobe and the Outcast Agency launched the contest to spur engagement with Gen Z creators. Adobe says the initiative outpaced all previous efforts by the company to reach that cohort, and generated more than 53,000 asset downloads.

"Given Billie's own interest in visual arts, we felt that sharing a piece of her process would be an exciting way to activate her fans and empower them as creators," Michi Arthur, head of global marketing, Education and Spark at Adobe, tells Muse. "We wanted Creative Cloud to serve simply as the vehicle for the creative expression." 

Eilish's own sketches and images served as prompts to inspire fans as they built their own dreamscapes, and all participants received a one-month free trial of Creative Cloud. 

The two runners-up got concert tickets and other prizes. You can view their eerie entries below. 


Runner-Up: @mattgdrawsthings


Runner-Up: @nabs_draws

Sure, it's basically a riff on fan contests that have been around since the dawn of popular music. But here, we have some twists that seem especially in tune with the Instagram generation and harmoniously on-brand. 

Music-minded cross-promotions of yore (think cardboard records on cereal boxes) and even some current plays (hey, Ariana Grande's got her own Starbucks drink!) can be fun, but most turn on simple value-added propositions. This contest goes further by empowering and energizing the fan base and challenging their artistic chops. 

Eilish's ideas served as triggers, but the process involved a level of collaboration that democratized and personalized the fan/artist paradigm. That drives community building on two fronts: Adobe gains potential customers by engaging and showcasing fans' creations, and makers share an experience sparked by mutual interest that in some ways transcends the contest itself.

Adobe scored with a similar contest last year, challenging artists to design movie posters, with Zach Braff making a short film based on the winning entry.

On the Eilish effort, "it was interesting to see the deeply personal nature of the posts," Arthur says. "Captions of entries delved into the hopes and fears of the applicants, many detailing their own dreams and the ways Billie has inspired them to express their creativity and individuality."

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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