“Meet Mary” Doing Its Job (Picturing Mary Outdoor)

Meet Mary

Working with the National Museum of Women in the Arts to promote the special exhibition Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea, we put street-level exhibition advertising signage on the museum’s beautiful landmark building for the first time. Our creative features a detail of Botticelli‘s exquisite depiction of the subject and a simple, easy-to-grasp call-to-action: “Meet Mary.” This on-building signage is coordinated with bus shelters and other smaller in-context signage concentrated in the immediate vicinity of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, which is on the corner of New York Avenue and 13th Street NW, just east of the White House. The idea is to make sure that the building’s many passersby do not miss the opportunity to learn of this remarkable exhibition.

It seems to be working.

NMWA Picturing Mary Exterior

Most natural audience

We have strategically marketed Picturing Mary to DC-area art buffs and a more national Catholic audience, for whom the show’s 60+ depictions of the Virgin Mary by some of the most well-known artists from the Renaissance is particularly appealing. The exhibition has garnered a good deal of attention and is drawing in crowds.

A staff person from the museum commented to me, “I’ve never seen so many nuns before!”

Picturing Mary has achieved the highest attendance recorded for any show in the museum’s history.

As confirmation of the effectiveness of signage that attends closely to the tactical user-level interface, includes imagery designed to engage the intended target audience and has a clear and easy to understand call to action, Voice of America reported yesterday an interview with a Benedictine nun Sister Marie-Bernard of Massachusetts, who gave her account of discovering the exhibition: “We were driving down the road and we saw a beautiful picture of the blessed mother on the side of the museum. It said ‘Meet Mary.’ We have to go there!”

Trip Advisor reviewer describes his own experience back in December in almost exactly the same way: “We were in a cab on the way to another museum when my wife spied a banner … on the side of a building. Later in the day, we Googled it, found the exhibit to be at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.”

NMWA Picturing Mary Outdoor

Update

The exhibition Picturing Mary achieved the highest attendance recorded for any show in the museum’s history, 242% above the institutional average for special exhibitions.

Based on point of purchase surveys of attendees, 66% attributed their visit to advertising or word-of-mouth, and 67% of those specifically cited the advertising.

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Watch a short excerpt from a diagnostic workshop in which James Heaton engages with the staff of the Tenement Museum in New York City to answer the question, “What is a brand?”

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