A marketing miracle

Gareth Kay, head planner at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, was asked to do something for the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.  There wasn’t much money. And museums are notoriously difficult to making meanings for.  (They believe themselves immaculately formed.)

But Kay and his team put to work and eventually they created what I think is a perfectly brilliant strategy.  Here’s how Gareth describes it.  

[We] landed on the idea of helping people release their inner Salvador through a photo App that could create surrealist overlays, a modern day ode to the brilliance that is Dali. We decided to partner with someone to give us critical mass of users and distribution, so we reached out to Hipstamatic. They liked the idea so much that they have worked with us to create a lens and film pak for the app (the Dali Museum Goodpak), waved their fee and pledged to donate any income from sales of the pack (it costs 99c) to the museum. [W]e’ll also be projecting images taken with the pak on to the museum’s new building on it’s opening night.

Oh, how entirely interesting.  In London last week, I stole a moment to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum and especially the Tudor rooms…and came out knowing less about Early Modern England than I did going in.  The V&A appeared determined to put as much glass and exhibition tech between the visitor and the objects as possible, and to withhold most of the ideas and emotions that would have made these objects live.  In an age when almost every other institution is disintermediating at a ferocious pace, it was especially tragic.  

How wonderful then to see Kay at work.  His Hipstamatic strategy is all about the take-away, about making the Dali sensibility available to the world.  Cheap and cheerful, unassuming but in its way quite engaging, the Dali pak makes the museum portable.  Dali, I think, would have been amused, and the Museum, well, who knows how museums think, but it’s hard to imagine the Dali Museum isn’t thrilled.  I took the photo above from a speeding car in New York City yesterday.  Thus, thanks to Kay and company, did the museum come to live in the life of someone thousands of miles away.

We’ve got several of the new orthodoxies of marketing at work here.  The Hipstamatic strategy gives us participation, cocreation, and transformation, all in all a wonderful little culturematic.  It gives us the opportunity to install and then experiment with the sensibility for which the museum stands.  Kay makes something that makes meanings for the visitor and in the process the museum.  This is a fine order of meaning manufacture.  

Hats off to Kay, Goodby, Silverstein and Partners and Hipstamatic.  

References

Kay, Gareth.  2010.  Released Your Inner Dali.  Brand New.  November 5.  here.

3 thoughts on “A marketing miracle”

  1. Grant,
    A cracking wee casestudy, I’d love learn the takeup and results of the campaign, what the expectations were and subsequent brand reach.

    It’s been a very long time since I was in the V&A in London (a school trip in the 80’s) I remember being blown away by the cleanliness of all the glass cases – you could touch no exhibits, yet there were no finger prints on the glass either – eerie. I’m guessing little has changed.

  2. What a great idea. I often work with cultural organizations and they are similarly reluctant to step out of their known and into the unknown. The Dali app sounds perfect for driving this demographic.

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