Through unexpected strategies and innovative campaigns, The National Gallery found fresh ways to connect with new audiences and inspire a city.
THE NATIONAL GALLERY
The National Gallery houses one of the finest collections of paintings in the world. Yet in comparison to some other London galleries, it lacked awareness and appeal amongst its key audience. Londoners and visitors were coming to see new exhibitions but failing to explore the permanent collection.
The Partners was asked to review the Gallery’s brand to help it better connect with its audiences and to create a campaign to promote the permanent collection.
We undertook a series of interviews with the Gallery’s curators, visitors and museum staff to understand the diversity and nature of the challenge. This revealed a fundamental tension in the core purpose of the Gallery. The preservation of the paintings and the engagement of the public were seen as separate functions, often pulling in different directions.
The key to the brand was to put the public’s experience of the paintings at the heart of the National Gallery’s brand. A comprehensive and inspiring brand strategy was developed which included a set of definitions and standards, which were enthusiastically accepted by the Gallery’s stakeholders.
BRAND IDENTITY AND ACTIVATION
We defined a creative idea for how the strategy could be translated into communications, which we called The Gallery of the Mind. This encouraged communications to move beyond images into words, to create a more emotional and intellectual connection with the Gallery, an innovative idea for an organisation renowned for its visual content. The strategic and graphic principles were guidelined and used to create promotional materials, advertising campaigns and literature. In addition they also helped inform key decisions at the Gallery, ranging from recruitment to selecting an appropriate restaurant partner.
THE GRAND TOUR
Next the Gallery asked us to help raise awareness of the permanent collection and to highlight the technology services of sponsor, Hewlett-Packard.
Our response was to turn the brief on its head. Rather than trying to bring an audience to the Gallery, we decided to take the Gallery to the people.
We hung 44 life size high-resolution prints in replica frames around the streets of Covent Garden, Piccadilly and Soho, creating a Grand Tour of the collection.
Each site was hand picked to complement the painting and carried a plaque to highlight details about the piece communicated in everyday language. By upholding the integrity of the paintings (in terms of reproduction and hanging) and by creating an opportunity to encourage Londoners to engage with the collection, the core strategy of the National Gallery brand was powerfully brought to life. By stopping Londoners in their tracks and compelling them to connect and engage with the paintings, 92% of audiences felt the Gallery would be an inspirational place to visit.
The Grand Tour became a symbol of the National Gallery’s public engagement strategy. The project was a huge success, with over 28,000 tour maps picked up from the Gallery and another 24,000 downloaded from the website. Despite no paid-for media, the Grand Tour achieved over 300 pieces of worldwide media coverage and became London’s most talked about summer show. It was subsequently extended into a national tour.
FELT THE GALLERY WOULD
BE AN INSPIRATIONAL
PLACE TO VISIT
OF PEOPLE WHO HAD NEVER VISITED THE GALLERY FELT MOTIVATED TO DO SO
PIECES OF WORLDWIDE MEDIA COVERAGE AND A TV DOCUMENTARY
OF THE MOST
NEW YORK FESTIVALS
NEW YORK ART
DESIGNS OF THE YEAR