The Art Institute of Chicago DM, Case study 500-WAYS by Energy BBDO Chicago


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Industry Museums & Libraries, Education
Media Direct marketing, Case study
Market United States
Agency Energy BBDO Chicago
Copywriter James Wood
Designer Mike Mcquade
Producer John Pratt
Editor Ray Willis
Released November 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Ambient Media (Large Scale)
Product/Service: ART INSTITUTE
Date of First Appearance: Dec 1 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: ENERGY BBDO, Chicago, USA
Entry URL:
Chief Creative Officer: Dan Fietsam (Energy BBDO)
Creative Lead: Kevin Lynch (Proximity Chicago)
Planner: Shawna Ross (Energy BBDO)
Designer: Mike McQuade (Energy BBDO)
Copywriter: James Wood (Energy BBDO)
Producer: John Pratt (Energy BBDO)
Editor: Ray Willis (Energy BBDO)
Media placement: Flyer - Community Bulletin Boards - December 3-Jan 31
Media placement: Guerrilla - Bus Shelter - December 3-Jan 31
Media placement: Guerrilla - Various Public Places Around Chicago (Parks, Side - December 3-Jan 31
Media placement: Guerrilla - Various Public Places Around Chicago (Parks, Sidewalks) - December 3-Jan 31
Media placement: Guerrila - Various Public Places Around Chicago (Parks, Sidewalks etc.) - December 3-Jan 31
Describe the brief/objective of the direct campaign.
1. Use the iconic look and feel of the Art Institute logo and type to connect the new Modern Wing to the Art Institute of Chicago.2. Drive value beyond limited, existing paid media dollars (43% decrease in media spend from previous year).3. Enable meaningful consumer engagement outside of the museum boundaries, both physical and digital.4. Drive immediate admissions revenue from existing Chicago residents.
Explain why the creative execution was relevant to the product or service.
The 500 Red Cubes were designed to be a branded conversation, a game, a project, a relationship, an interaction outside the conventions of a museum. The design of the Cubes intrigued Chicagoans in their daily routine when they weren’t thinking about the Art Institute, or art, for that matter. The design used iconic typeface, shape, colour, look and feel of the Art Institute to reframe the brand in a new, unconventional manner. The design behaves very much like the addition of the Modern Wing does in relationship with the rest of the museum. Classic, but now fresh, meaningful and contemporary.
Describe the creative solution to the brief/objective with reference to the projected response rates and desired outcome.
500 numbered Red Cubes, each with a URL and unique password, were placed all over Chicago to bring the experience of Art directly into the hands of Chicagoans. Upon finding a cube, Chicagoans would go to and activate the cube – and participate in 500 unique Art projects. Once activated, the cube finder would share the process of their project on the site, allowing fans and followers to participate. The project culminated with an exhibit of original art-work generated from the cubes and displayed in the beautiful new Modern Wing of the museum. The campaign delivered a 64% response/activation rate.
Describe the results in as much detail as possible with particular reference to the RESPONSE of the target audience including deliverability statistics, response rates, click throughs, sales cost per response, relationships built and overall return on investment.
The campaign generated 80m impressions with only using paid media that guaranteed 38m. Earned an additional $30k in PR . And collected 1,000 new e-News subscribers. Paid attendance increased by 7% vs. YAGO. It was the client’s first venture into designed experiential marketing and it exceeded their expectations which encourages them to continue with innovative marketing. TimeOut Chicago praised the campaign by writing: “The Art Institute knows their audience is too savvy to roped in by a tag line. They are using interactive involvement to capture patrons’ attention. And we’ll be the first to admit it: We’re sold.”