What’s the Business Model of a Duct Taped Banana?

The most striking Business Model of 2019? Undoubtedly that must be the business model for a piece of art titled ‘Comedian’. Also known as the Duct Taped Banana.

The Comedian. Is it a joke?

Italian maverick Maurizio Cattelan taped a banana to a wall in the Art Basel Miami Beach and sold the first edition for a lousy $120,000. “The banana is supposed to be a banana”, explains the artist.

After a second edition of the Duct Taped Banana was sold for another $120.000, the price has gone up to a meager $150,000. You don’t have to be a math genius to calculate the profit on this piece of art.

Serious piece of Art

And if you think the ‘Comedian’ is a joke from an art world prankster, you’re way off. It’s considered a serious piece of art. Therefore, it even gets delivered with the artist’s certificate of authenticity.

“Every aspect of the work was carefully considered, from the shape of the fruit, to the angle its been affixed to the wall with dutch tape, to its placement on a large wall, … ”

Blah, blah, blah. 

Stop. It’s time to hold up Strategyzer’s Blah Blah card to the offender (whom ever that might be) and grab a tool that answers the provoking question: “How to sell a banana for a staggering $120,000?”

This tool is the Business Model Canvas. And the veritable question “What is the Business Model of a Duct Taped Banana?”

Get the job done best

The easiest part of the business model for last year’s most talked about artwork is the feasibility. 

Before Catalan came up with the taping a banana to the wall, he worked on different prototypes. First in resin, later in bronze. But a real banana, from a local grocery store, got the job done best. 

Banana’s expire. Business models too.

Makes me think of a memorable quote from Alex Osterwalder: “Business models expire like yoghurt in the fridge.” That’s sure the case with a banana as the value proposition 😉

The harder part is to find desirability within the artist’s ultimate customer segment. Who wants to buy it? 

Lucrative piece of fruit

Here you have to identify the high value job. For local grocery store bananas there are many willing to pay pennies, but for the ‘Comedian’ there a few (two actually) willing to pay a lot. That’s makes it lucrative.

Needless to say that, if you’re able to sell this piece of fruit for a lot of bucks, this business model might be reckoned somewhat viable. Yes, that’s an understatement. And the emphasis is on ‘if’.

Hard-to-copy business model

This is where Perrotin comes in. A contemporary art gallery in Paris’ Marais and business partner for Cattelan. Representing the indispensable channel in the business model to reach the banana art lovers.

Ultimately the most intriguing question to ask yourself: what is the actual value proposition? Is it a just a $1 banana taped to wall or is it a true masterpiece of art? It’s up to you to decide. 

I consider it as a hard-to-copy profitable business model.

Ragazzo ben fatto!

PS. There are a lot scherzi going round on internet. I just LMPO with Brooke Shields’ post on Instagram with a banana duct taped to her face. No, this piece of art is not for sale 😉

What is your favourite version of the Duct Taped Banana?