Art Series Hotels Case study STEAL BANKSY, 4 by Naked Communications

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Industry Hotels & Resorts
Media Case study
Market Australia
Agency Naked Communications
Art Director Seshan Moodley
Designer Gerard Hindle
Released June 2012


Cannes Lions 2012
PR Lions Travel, Tourism & Leisure Gold

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Sectors & Services
Category: Travel, Tourism & Leisure
Product/Service: HOTEL PROMOTION
Type of Entry: Sectors & Services
Category: Travel, Tourism & Leisure
Advertiser/Client: ART SERIES HOTELS
Product/Service: HOTEL PROMOTION
Managing Partner Head of Ideas: Paul Swann (Naked Communications)
Founder/Global Head of Behavioural Science: Adam Ferrier (Naked Communications)
Creative Director: Seshan Moodley (Naked Communications)
Communications Director: Jono Key (Naked Communications)
Art Director: Seshan Moodley (Naked Communications)
Designer: Gerard Hindle (Naked Communications)
Expressions Director: Aliya Hasan (Naked Communications)
Digital Project Manager: Lach Hall (Naked Communications)
Strategist: Matt Houltham (Naked Communications)
Public Relations: Larissa Rembsiz (Naked Communications)
Describe the campaign/entry
The Art Series Hotels are a luxury hotel-chain located in Melbourne, Australia. Each hotel is themed and displays works by famous Australian artists. They needed to ensure occupancy rates were maximised over their quiet summer period and asked us to create a PR campaign to sell 1,000 rooms. On a limited $80,000 budget we needed to find a hook to earn the exposure.
We wanted controversy, but in a manner befitting this contemporary, hip, art led hotel chain. So we took inspiration from the forensic psychology adage ,'bad men do what good men dream', applying it to the hotel industry (synonymous with petty theft) and the art world (art heists).
With this, our idea was born - ‘steal Banksy’: Stay the night. Steal the art.
If guests could steal an original piece of art by street artist, Banksy, (valued at $15,000) without being caught it was theirs to keep. If apprehended, back on the wall it went.
We launched the campaign with a media call, instigating several journalists to document their own attempts.
After the initial PR push, we kept momentum by using social media to give clues to the painting’s whereabouts and showcase CCTV footage of foiled attempts. Even celebrities, including Serena Williams, made attempts and tweeted about it.
The campaign generated attention throughout Australian media (e.g. Sydney Morning Herald, The Age) and across the globe including CNN, LA Times and New York Observer. PR mentions spanned news, travel and art media, print, radio, online - receiving over 300 mentions.
Describe the brief from the client
The goal was to have 1,000 rooms booked over a month. The PR campaign had 3 objectives to meet this:
a) Create awareness of the Art Series Hotels;
b) Drive people to the web site;
c) Get people to book a room.
The hotels attract an audience of young, hip, urban, professionals. They stay at the hotels because they are luxurious, fashionable and offer a different artistic experience. (However, over summer we miss out on our normal business market.)
The campaign had to be cool, rooted in the world of art, and something they would want to talk about.


Drive awareness via PR:
The Art series Hotels was in the public eye like never before, generating unprecedented awareness for their offering. The campaign achieved massive coverage domestically across print, radio, online publications, blogs and was picked up around the world (61 countries) with an estimated value of $2.1m. In social media it accumulated 3,083 campaign mentions with an estimated reach of 6.7m on Twitter alone.
Website visits:
The PR and social coverage drove more than 105,000 visitors to the hotel website (an increase of 112%).
Room Bookings:
The campaign ultimately led to more than 1,500 rooms being sold in 4 weeks, exceeding our briefed target of 1,000 by 50% and generating a 300% return on investment. To quote Art Series Hotel CEO Will Deague, Steal Banksy was "by far the best campaign we’ve ever done.”

Creative Execution

We launched with a media event that set out the challenge and showed off the Banksy.
The terms outlined by lawyers set out the rules for the game but were also written in the spirit of what a good art heist should be all about:
Rule 2. Be cool. Art thieves are always cool
Rule 19. Oceans 11 jokes will not be tolerated.
The art was GPS tracked, so we could contact the successful thief and verify its authenticity. There were regular social media updates and video footage releases of failed attempts. We also stimulated conversations by reaching out to the most active social media commentators and journalists, proffering tips/insider information. Journalists even documented their attempts via mainstream media and Twitter.
The original Banksy was eventually stolen and we leveraged that for a further round of PR coverage. With the public still interested we hung another Banksy and started again.

On a small budget ($80,000) the campaign needed to create maximum PR to sell 1,000 rooms over summer.
We needed to use PR to drive visits to the website and room bookings between December 15th and January 15th. This is Art Series Hotels quiet month (no business travel). There were no big events, sporting or cultural happenings in Melbourne for that month - and the 3 days over New Year's Eve were excluded from the promotion!

Our strategy was to create a campaign that evolved over time with fresh points of interest to talk about, via the provocative territory of art theft.
We wanted Steal Banksy to become a piece of social currency and thanks to Banksy’s local profile and to the many heist movies in popular culture we knew we had a rich territory to stimulate discussion.
As the campaign evolved we released clues to the art’s whereabouts along with CCTV footage of failed attempts, which drove fresh conversations and maintained intrigue.
Finally we planned to amplify the ultimately successful theft. As hoped, our successful thieves were devious enough that the heist was a compelling story in its own right.