• Three Minutes

A Month in a Museum

Today we’ll talk about Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and how their scheme to live in the museum for a month free of cost became an advertising genius.


A common misconception about advertising that it is used solely to sell products. Not true. Advertising is not always to get people to buy your product. Sometimes, it is simply to raise awareness (think Government of India’s Covid-19 ads) or bring a brand to people’s notice.


And how does bringing a brand to people’s notice help?


Well for starters, this pushes the brand to the top of your mind. For example, think of a detergent brand. Did you think of Surf? Me too.

So now when I go shopping, I am more likely to choose Surf if confused between two different detergent brands. This likeliness to choose might seem small and irrelevant on a personal level but sometimes it becomes the difference between a market leader and a follower.


Back to the museum, the museum launched the competition wherein participants had to send in their essays and videos to get a chance to live in a hotel-style room in a museum and get a $10,000 cash prize. Now the competition was so unique that local TV, radio as well as national news and entertainment shows were now covering this.


As a result, they got four times the entries expected. Another important point to note here is that usually, these science and history buffs have their own blogs, Instagram pages and YouTube channels. Those who participated in the competition shared about this opportunity on their social media handles as well. This gave Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry free access and linkages to over 400 blogs as well as doubled their Facebook Page’s fan following.


Now the results.

Kate McGroarty, a 24-year-old theatre teacher from Chicago got selected. Kate here was the real advertising weapon for the Museum. In her one month stay at the museum, the only contact she had with the outside was with her phone and her laptop.

For $10,000 Kate was an all-star content creator.

She continuously tweeted, blogged and posted from inside the museum covering every tiny detail and analysing things minutely. All those applicants who didn’t get selected were her diligent audience. They continuously shared and reposted her content. Kate, who was no celebrity or influencer was suddenly their biggest brand ambassador and probably one of the cheapest and most effective ones.

News channels, radio stations and magazines were all continuously interviewing her to know about her experience and Kate had only positive words for them! This small competition thus translated into radio, television, print as well as social media advertising for them.


The result of this campaign was visible in the increased footfall on the museum’s website, Facebook and YouTube pages. Even the visitors to the museum increased significantly after this exercise.


We all know that Social Media Marketing is one of the cheapest ways to generate user traction. But for perspective, the $10,000 cash prize which they gave away (Assuming that was the only major expenditure) is equivalent to a 0.05-second ad in the Super-Bowl.


Cheers to smart advertising!

This post has been sponsored by The DU Official. As fellow DU students, we thank them for their support and effort towards the community. Do visit their Instagram page here for amazing content.

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Signing off for today.

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