Special Exhibits Drive Traffic at Science Museums
We take great pleasure in working on Science North campaigns for a number of reasons. First, we all love visiting the science centre and experiencing its attractions firsthand. Second, we enjoy the strategic aspects of working in tourism and education.
Developing campaigns for museums and attractions like Science North present a special set of opportunities and challenges. One of the special challenges faced by venues like Science North is to provide consumers a reason to visit now. Due to success and familiarity, there is a tendency to put off a visit, since the attraction is “always there”.
Special exhibitions or other limited time events provide a distinct opportunity to drive attendance. Also, successful special exhibition campaigns have the potential to drive ongoing visitation, public awareness and donor support. That’s why we see these exhibitions as a unique opportunity.
Like many museums, Science North rotates between special exhibitions they have developed and exhibits brought in from other museums/science centres. Science North obtained the Imaginate Exhibition from the Ontario Science Center to run from February until the end of April, 2016. Our campaign for Imaginate aimed to build on the branding that had been developed by the Pacific Science Center.
The “Girl with Wings” poster developed by the Pacific Science Centre provided a great starting point. Science North liked the overall idea of a picture of a child that featured elements of the natural and technological. In this case two illustrated wings, one natural and another that looked mechanical. To match Science North’s reputation as an active and immersive attraction, we decided to make the creative more action oriented.
Our team developed three concepts to demonstrate the overall theme of the hands-on exhibition.
One was an adaptation of the PSC’s “girl with wings”. We placed in a new, happy and excited girl in a more action oriented pose.
We created two additional original concepts and featured a combination of objects found within the exhibit. One was a paper airplane and gears, interposed with more complex technology in the form of detailed engineering drawings. The scene of course included happy, active children.
We executed this concept as a TV spot, radio commercials, billboards, arena rink boards, posters, print ads and digital ads. The overriding feature of all elements was imagination, excitement, enthusiasm. and a sense of urgency.
Overall, Science North experienced high volumes of traffic to the exhibit. They exceeded their attendance goals for key time periods. Most importantly, visitor feedback showed they enjoyed their experiences at both the exhibition and the rest of the science centre.