Cannes Lions

RECALLING 1993

DROGA5, New York / NEW MUSEUM / 2013

Awards:

1 Bronze Cannes Lions
1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Supporting Images
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

The New Museum’s exhibition, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” opened in early 2013 to celebrate artwork made or shown in New York in 1993—exactly 20 years prior. Through the museum’s modern art lens it offered a collective, focused look at the tumultuous events and cultural shifts of that year that went on to shape a city and a nation.

In deciding how best to promote this show, we decided to effectively extend it beyond the museum’s walls, turning 5,000 NYC pay phones into time machines back to 1993 via recorded oral histories. By utilizing the immobile, technologically dated pay phone to tell stories of 1993, we were able to root stories in the neighborhoods where they transpired—giving listeners a deeper understanding of this pivotal time period as it pertained to the neighborhood they were calling from.

By keeping our stories offline and making a defunct piece of technology the only way to access our archive of more than 4.5 hours of content, we were able to spark media attention and prevent our stories from getting lost in the digital-sphere shuffle.

This approach, however, put added weight on our PR team. With virtually no paid media to generate awareness, we initiated a massive PR push to alert every New York City–focused newspaper, magazine, blog, radio show, and TV station possible. What we had not expected was the extensive national and international attention the campaign received.

Execution

Word of Recalling 1993 quickly spread to hundreds of news outlets all over the world, generating more than 165 million media impressions in just four weeks. Since all the project required of the public was the daring to handle a NYC pay phone, absolutely everyone in Manhattan was able to access our stories; and that accessibility showed in the results.

Attendance to the museum spiked dramatically in the week Recalling 1993 was launched with a 31% increase in attendance from the previous year, making it the single most successful promotion in the history of the New Museum. Executive Director of the museum, Lisa Phillips, said, “In my 30 years of museum experience I've never seen a campaign of this magnitude for an exhibition.”

Outcome

Despite an overall budget of only $10,000, word of Recalling 1993 quickly spread to hundreds of news outlets all over the world, generating over 165 million earned impressions in just four weeks. As a result, attendance to the museum spiked dramatically in the week Recalling 1993 was launched, with a 31% increase in attendance compared to the previous year making it the single most successful promotion in the history of the New Museum. Executive Director of the New Museum, Lisa Phillips, had this to say about Recalling 1993, “In my 30 years of museum experience, I've never seen a campaign of this magnitude for an exhibition.”

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