NMWA Picturing Mary Exhibition

“Tronvig Group has also given us an audience segmentation schema that clarifies motivations for our diverse audiences.”
Amy Mannarino, National Museum of Women in the Arts


The National Museum of Women in the Arts needed to effectively market an exhibition, Picturing Mary, that was outside the typical areas of interest and not fundamentally appealing to their core audience, while also overlapping with offerings from prominent competitors, such as the National Gallery of Art, that were running at the same time.


Print advertising for the exhibition was given the conversational but active headline “Meet Mary.” Variations of the advertising were prepared for Catholic and art buff target segments, both of which we examined through persona research.

We created ads targeting both art buffs (left) and Catholics (right). Our goal was to differentiate the NMWA exhibition from those at the National Gallery using the overlay of “at the women’s museum” to clarify that the exhibition was not at the National Gallery. After careful testing, we applied elements that personally resonated with each of our main targets, with specific treatments and messaging. The Catholic segment focused on deepening your faith and the art buff segment focused on celebrity Renaissance artist names.

1. Art buff ads had a more aggressive violator to clarify that this was not a National Gallery of Art show and a subhead listing the notable artists represented in the show.
2. The Catholic-targeted ads featured a more subdued violator “at the Women’s Museum” and a subhead focused on deepening your faith.

Tactical online implementation:

online display and pay-per-click were also segmented by target audience.

Tactical outdoor implementation:
in outdoor advertising, the focus was placed on the building and immediate surroundings. Street-level signage was coordinated for the first time in the museum’s history to actively alert passersby that this exhibition was taking place.

Picturing Mary obtained more than 150 placements in the general media and more than 50 in the Catholic media, as well as 900 tweets and 315 press mentions.

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


above the institutional average for special exhibitions.

Based on point-of-purchase surveys of attendees,


attributed their visit to advertising or word-of-mouth, and


of those specifically cited the advertising.

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