Pacific Standard Time is collaboration of arts institutions led by the Getty, across Southern California, each presenting thematically linked exhibitions and programs designed to celebrate the region’s vibrant cultural history. The 2017 iteration of this collaboration, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA was a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art. The particular challenge of the supporting communications campaign was to bring in the “culturally curious” segment: generally college-educated millennials interested in cultural activities (festivals, live music, fairs) but not often drawn to museums. The big question was how to sell them on more than 80 different exhibitions at more than 70 museums.
Provoke and promise
Ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day knew that engaging the culturally curious meant presenting PST: LA/LA in a way that fits into their own cultural world: art living in phones, between selfies and coffee art. Rather than feature any of the works of art from the many exhibitions, they enticed viewers to follow scannable social media links to discover what was behind their provocative descriptions, e.g. “There will albino deer smelling a woman’s neck,” followed by the simple promise of “There will be art.”
Work the collaborations
Participating museums were asked to take part in cross promotional activities with other institutions in their neighbourhood. The collaborating museums produced such efforts as joint advertising, promotional campaings, co-programming and free access days.
Review and evolve
During its 4 months, PST: LA/LA was visited by 2.8 million people, 40% of which were millennial. This is a great success, but raises a valid question – how can a festival that takes place at irregular intervals keep up with moving target audiences? Its previous editions, in 2011, barely used the ermerging platform of social media and yet this one, in 2017, was heavily dependent upon it. With the next edition likely to be in another 5 years or so, we’re yet discover how the Pacific Standard Time brand will be applied for the future.
Provocations are powerful!
Pay attention to your target audience – follow the trends and changes of their engagement activity to meet them in spaces that they connect.
Partnerships are a win/win for everyone.