Cannes Lions

Living Objects

DDB PARIS / MUSEE DE LA GRANDE GUERRE / 2019

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

The Museum of the Great War opened in 2011, in Meaux (20 minutes from Paris' Eastern railway station).

On one hand, it is the biggest WW1 museum in Europe. On the other hand, it is too far and too close of Paris at the same time. Because Paris is full of great attractions and WW1 is not the most attractive subject. And for those who are into it, there is a Museum of Army within walking distance to the world's famous Eiffel Tower. Tough competition.

The task was to promote both the museum's permanent collection and the temporary exhibition called "Families at war", while spreading the museum's vision of World War 1 focused on human beings.

Idea

When it comes to History, nothing is more powerful than a direct testimony. But the last WW1 veteran died in 2012. There are no more witnesses of this tragic era. Unless you take historians' word for it when they claim that artefacts have a lot to say about their time.

This is how Living Objects were born: authentic vintage objects that we changed into the very last witnesses of WW1. By giving them a voice. Litteraly.

Like Louise & Auguste's bed. A wedding bed that became too big because of war. And some others, like the postman's satchel that talked about a too heavy weight, or the wedding dome, whose glass was less transparent that you could think at first.

A series of objects with a soul, that turned History into human stories.

Strategy

Paris and vicinity's inhabitants were the main target.

For decades, French people have only known peace on the national territory, so today, it is hard for them to understand what war can be. It is hard for them to realize what their own great grandparents endured a century ago.

But as all veterans had passed away, it seemed a good approach to find new witnesses to tell what happened. Because, as we said before, nothing is more powerful than a direct testimony.

That is why we changed authentic vintage objects into the very last witnesses of WW1. Each one told a touching story. Like Louise & Auguste's bed, displayed in Paris' Eastern station, right in front of the train platforms that serve the museum's city, in 20 minutes.

A direct and simple way to encourage people to take the train to the museum.

Execution

The campaign started in June 2018 with some "living objects" displayed in the temporary exhibition, at the museum. They “talked” to the journalists invited to a press conference.

In early November, Louise & Auguste's bed was exhibited in Paris' Eastern railway station. This unusual audio installation was displayed right in front of the platforms that saw millions of French men go to war in 1914. It was the perfect location, because 1/ it was a very symbolic place, 2/ it directly serves the museum's city in 20 minutes, 3/ more than 100,000 people transit through it everyday.

The campaign was totally integrated, with national and local press ads, a podcast, and digital posters with very short urls that drove to very simple digital videos, object-focused, so that everyone could read, watch or listen to the different stories, whenever and wherever they wanted.

Outcome

The campaign was relayed by media and blogs as prestigious as Le Parisien, Le Monde or France Télévisions.

Globally, "Living Objects" touched 12 million people.

And during the time of the campaign, the number of visitors at the museum raised by 124%.

But the most beautiful result is about people themselves: 90% of those who put on earphones kept listening to the story until the end. Some even cried. Including journalists and bloggers. Proof that the goal was reached.

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