The Art Institute of Chicago Promo, Case study THRONES by Energy BBDO Chicago


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Industry Shows, Events & Festivals
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Energy BBDO Chicago
Executive Creative Director Kevin Lynch
Art Director Michael D'amico
Copywriter Jennifer Liu
Released April 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Localised Campaign
Product/Service: EXHIBITION
Chief Creative Officer: Dan Fietsam (Energy BBDO)
Executive Creative Director: Kevin Lynch (Energy BBDO)
Copywriter: Jennifer Liu (Energy BBDO)
Art Director: Michael D'amico (Energy BBDO)
Media placement: Crowns - Bloomingdale's & Palmer House Hotel - April 15, 2011
Media placement: Thrones - Chigao Transit Association (trains) - April 15, 2011

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
We aimed to reach both Chicagoans and tourists by driving interest and awareness for the exhibition, 'Kings, Queens and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France'. This effort targeted their audience in a unique, interactive and fun way.

The work targeted 'Cultural Lights'; those Chicagoans who consider themselves culturally involved and may have visited the Institute in the past two years. They are open to visiting the AIC again but other cultural institutions, along with life’s priorities, get in the way of their good intentions.

To accomplish our goal, we set out to bring the exhibition to life and to contemporise people's perception of the Art Institute. Art museums can seem inaccessible because there's a physical separation between you and the art. So, we made something interactive and playful to invite people into the experience instead of just telling them why they should visit the exhibition.

Creative Execution
To bring the museum into the hustle and bustle of daily Chicago life, we created physical representations of museum pieces, representative of the era exhibited. Crowns, in the form of mirror clings, were strategically placed in hotels and retail venues, transforming Chicagoans’ reflections into that of crowned royalty.

Passengers on the Chicago El trains received the royal treatment as select seats were transformed into replicas of Renaissance thrones. The thrones not only educated 'Chicago Lights' of the exhibition, but also encouraged engagement via an interactive contest. Passengers on the trains were asked to snap photos as they presided over their commuting kingdom. Those who uploaded pictures to the Art Institute Facebook page were eligible to win a more upscale royal treatment at the museum, including but not limited to, an overnight stay for 2 at the Palmer House Hilton and a private tour of the Art Institute.

Results and Effectiveness
Not only was the Art Institute’s Facebook page flooded with photos, but the Thrones and Mirror Clings received a lot of positive buzz in the news. Numerous mainstream media outlets reported on the work that was enthusiastically shared on Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler, among other social media sites.

Through proactive media outreach, Energy BBDO's work for Art Institute of Chicago's Kings, Queens, and Courtiers exhibit garnered more than 1,543,000 media impressions across print and online with placements in top-tier media outlets including Chicago Tribune, TrendHunter, Gapers Block, and Windy Citizen.