LIDA’s campaign for Koons’ iconic Rabbit taps into the controversy that surrounds the piece.

How to sell a single silver bunny.

Vacuous, disposable and deathless. Exuberant, celebratory and perfect. There is little that has not been said about Jeff Koons’ seminal 1986 sculpture, Rabbit.

The very first of the artist’s famous mirror-finish balloon animals, Rabbit has drawn fervent devotion and derision.

Some labelled its arrival a lazy joke, a visual con that was not what it seemed. Others embraced its sharp take on consumerism.

When tasked with selling the only Rabbit ever to come to the open market, LIDA has taken an approach that embraces the controversy that surrounds the piece.

It’s not every day an agency is tasked with selling a single silver bunny, set to fetch between $50m and $70m. And we stepped up to the surprising ask with a bold answer.

The campaign, commissioned by Christie’s and approved by Koons, contrasts the most contradictory comments by prominent critics. Just as The Guardian proclaimed it the “deathless bunny”, so The New York Times saw it as “a symbol of birth”. Clashed together, these critiques make for a compelling headline.

In fact, we believe the intense debate that has built up around Rabbit, is now as much a part of the piece as the stainless steel form itself. And that very controversy is what upholds the sculpture’s relevance and value today.

As our campaign line proclaims, on the night of the auction, one person will have the chance to “Own the controversy”.

In recognition of Rabbit’s complicated story, we installed a site-specific light installation on Christie’s iconic Rockefeller Plaza facade. The first such commission by the auction house, LIDA’s sign will be illuminated for the week preceding Rabbit’s sale. Giant neon letters spell out the word ‘ICON’, with the ‘I’ left pulsing on and off.

This I/Con theme runs through much of the campaign. Four online films explore different aspects of the piece’s impact: ‘Shock’, ‘Spectacle’, ‘Sex’ and ‘Self’.

Other campaign activity includes digital and social executions running across the US, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, and special activity on WeChat in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The campaign will also run on landmark media including giant digital screens in New York’s Times Square, a New York Times homepage takeover and a full‐page New York Times press ad. This is supported by press ads in art industry titles; content on Christie’s social and owned channels; plus auction collateral, Rabbit merchandise and exhibition installations at Christie’s New York.