Exhibition Inquisition

The stuff you look at, but don't see.

Museum Marketing: Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France

with one comment

Art Institute of Chicago

If you’re like me, you already check out your reflection in the huge windows of ground floor lobbies in downtown.  Don’t lie; it’s impossible not to when faced with such large expanses of glass.  The Art Institute’s marketing campaign for its current temporary exhibition, show Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France only makes things worse (or better).  Better.  Museums in Chicago love a creative marketing campaign (see previous post on The Horse at the Field).

Look at yourself, just look at yourself!

Why this campaign is better than the Horse campaign: The campaign uses artwork in the exhibition.  Both Jean Bourdichon’s Louis XII Kneeling in Prayer (1498/99) and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Madonna of the Yarnwinder are used.  (The latter is the clear superstar of the show.)  The marketing campaign pairs these paintings with large, silver, reflective material, on which are printed crowns and scepters.  The idea is to look into these mirrors and picture yourself as a King or Queen, or as a Madonna…

Not only does the campaign actually feature the subject matter of the show, but it is also fun, and importantly memorable.  Crown=King, Tiara=Queen, King + Queen (+courtiers) = This exhibition. Boom, memorable.

The slogans in the ads: “THE FIT FOR A KING VISIT,” THE AFFAIR OF THE HEART VISIT,” and “THE FAMILY VALUES VISIT,” mimic the slogans used in the Art Institute’s Home for the Holidays campaign used at the end of last year.  Those used the slogans:  “THE REAL WINDOWS TO THE SOUL VISIT,” and “THE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS VISIT.”  These ads also look identical to the Home for the Holidays ads.  Same design, different content, cost efficient.  And besides probably being cost efficient in terms of design, the same-same-but-different ads are consistent.  AKA identity and branding.

The only place I’ve seen the mirror ads is along Monroe between Wabash and State, across the street from the Palmer House.  I don’t know if or where else the mirror campaign has been placed, but in this location, it is contextually perfect.  You’ll already looking at yourself in those lobby windows, why not take the time to do the same in this advertisement? They, and you in them, are eye-catching.

(L)Friend Dana as a queen. (R) Myself as the Virgin.

– H.I.

P.S. The Art Institute also set up a twitter for the exhibition.  You can follow Sir Robert here; he tweets his courtly tweets several times a day.

One Response

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  1. you make such a good virgin!


    April 6, 2011 at 9:22 AM

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