In February 2020, MSK Ghent launched ‘Van Eyck. An optical revolution’, an exhibition gathering the Flemish Master’s most renowned paintings from all over the world. Soon after the opening, this unprecedented and costly project got interrupted by the pandemic. Visit Flanders reached out to it’s long time partners Bowling Brands and Duke & Grace: the museum had to close its doors, but we couldn’t imagine leaving it like this.
IMPACT IN NUMBERS
Where it started
Duke & Grace has been working with Bowling Brands for Visit Flanders since 2018 to increase the international recognition of Flemish culture. For example, we created an inspirational platform to put the Flemish Masters in the spotlight. Over the years we have created various campaigns on social media to attract and convince art lovers from the Netherlands, France, The UK, Germany, Spain and Italy to visit Flanders.
At the end of 2019 and early 2020, we ran a major campaign to promote the Van Eyck expo to our target audience. Then, however, the pandemic happened. The corona crisis forced the expo ‘Van Eyck: an optical revolution’ to shut its doors. More than 143.751 people who already bought a ticket could not see this expo.
Bring it home
“If the art lover can’t come to the museum, why don’t we bring the museum to the art lover”, we thought to ourselves. The central idea Bowling brands came up with: provide a digital experience that exceeds a standard museum visit, and at the same time keep Flanders top-of-mind as the ultimate art destination.
That’s how ‘Stay At Home Museum’ was born: a digital Flemish Masters exhibition experience, guided by curators of top Flemish museums. In 30-minute live tours, we presented Van Eyck, Bruegel, Rubens, Ensor and Hof van Busleyden collection. Each tour was followed by live Q&As with experts. A personal treatment normally reserved for royals and presidents.
All the world’s a stage
Digital knows no borders, and so eventually the world became our audience thanks to a smart tactical plan. We started off by creating buzz in the international art lovers community through Facebook and then used YouTube to ensure long term exposure for the guided tours.
The curators gave live tours on Facebook Premiere. This platform was the channel par excellence to create a momentum - all viewers sat in the same virtual room, watching the content at the same time - fostering the perfect conditions for direct interaction both between the art lovers and during the Q&A. This was an excellent answer to the social isolation of many people. In order to boost the Premiere content (which is exclusively organic), we created a Facebook Event to invite art enthusiasts from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, and Spain - the target markets of Visit Flanders. That’s where we posted all teasers, announcements, and live tours.
For those who couldn’t follow the live experiences, we posted the virtual tour recordings on both Facebook and YouTube. There, we promoted them with discovery ads in the target countries, in order to reach an even broader audience of art lovers who might have missed the Facebook Premiere.
Best lockdown entertainment
We planned not one episode of the Stay at Home museum, but 5 live tours. By doing so, we showed the artistic beauty of our region and guided the visitors from one art city to another. The episodes were broadcasted every week on the same day, at the same hour and all episodes had recognisable opening credits, just like a TV format.
Results: best lockdown entertainment (according to BBC)
A balanced media strategy
Stay At Home Museum went viral globally, in total giving 2.474.550 video views to art lovers in 94 countries. With a powerful concept and smart tactics, we maximized the impact of the € 40.000 budget (split 30 to 70 on Facebook and YouTube throughout April and May).
Even though the content was rather long for online standards, it kept as much as 22% of the audience engaged until the very end! The engagement also got confirmed with 52.186 likes and comments, as well as 30.644 shares on Facebook and YouTube, ensuring a fair amount of organic exposure.
The key take-away? Strong content, the right moment and innovative distribution are the perfect mixture for a successful campaign.