Tate: increasing footfall with 500 years of stories

Tate / Tate

Grey London won various awards, including 'Best Art Direction' under Craft, at the Creative Out Of Home Awards 2016. It focused on how storytelling isn't dead and how it brought Tate Britain's footfall back to life. Here the agency explains the campaign and the thinking behind it.

Executive Summary

Tate Britain’s footfall was declining and it was struggling to get people outside of the usual ‘art crowd’ to visit the gallery. The brief was to revitalise the gallery and make it appeal to a broader audience. Overall objectives were to increase footfall numbers and to make people care about art again.

Strategy

Galleries have often used reproductions of artwork in posters to get people to visit. They don’t show the art in its best light, and they’ve become wallpaper to all but a few art buffs. So instead of showing the art, we decided to use words to tell the stories behind it. Stories that are as relevant today as they were when the artworks were originally created. Stories so compelling it would make people want to go to the gallery to see the art for themselves.

This campaign is proof that challenging convention can lead to a better more powerful way to communicate. In a world saturated with Instagram images, film, video and image reproductions this campaign has no image. In a world of ‘he who shouts the loudest wins’ this campaign is stripped back to just words and the stories they create.

Challenges

Art has always been an important part of British culture. But the art world has gradually drifted away from the everyday lives of most people. It is full of intellectual superiority and ‘quiet please’. This has alienated all but the white middle classes, so we needed to diversify the audience to include broader age ranges, ethnicities and social classes. We needed to put Tate Britain’s art back at the heart of British culture by making it feel relevant to people’s lives today.

Results

Footfall increased over the campaign period (up 55% above last year’s increase over the same period.) The campaign had an offline reach of 331,552,550, with outdoor contributing 23,422,000.

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