Before I created a marketing strategy for the exhibition and website I researched how other museums marketed their exhibitions. I found that just by using the word ‘museum’ in marketing can put people off, preconceptions or a poor experience as a child may mean that the word museum is a big turn off for the general public.
Participation and engagement
I thought it was interesting to find that in 2011 a group of museums and galleries in Yorkshire had launched a marketing campaign to promote art collections in 35 venues across their county.
The campaign chose not to shout about how great the art in these museums and galleries was, but instead asked the pubic to participate in the campaign by sharing stories about their favourite painting.
The campaign Yorkshire’s Favourite Painting offered a unique prize, the opportunity to win a replica of a painting that you love, and in six weeks, over 400 people took the opportunity to enter the competition.
The stories about why people loved these paintings were diverse, from a moving account of a mother who had lost her son in the conflict in Afghanistan and was reminded of him by a Lowry painting, to a six year old boy who ‘liked the lovely ladies’ in a painting of mermaids and a lady who wanted to win a replica of an artwork by her famous artist father.
This proves how people are happy to participate and engage with museums and exhibitions and are happy to tell their own stories.
While 400 people wrote stories, many more participated in other ways, sharing stories through social media, leaving comments and voting for stories.
The website attracted tens of thousands of hits, but the campaign resonated further, with online participants becoming real world visitors.