Cannes Lions

RECALLING 1993

DROGA5, New York / NEW MUSEUM / 2013

Case Film

Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

In the early 90s New York was a city in turmoil. The war on drugs was flagging. Gentrification was slicing the city into pieces. And the AIDS epidemic was reaching a fever pitch. But amidst the chaos, artists were reacting and creating what would become some of the most influential work in the latter half of the century. New Museum exhibition, NYC 1993: EXPERIMENTAL JET SET, TRASH AND NO STAR, relives that time by showcasing work created in New York in 1993. To promote the show, we created Recalling 1993 and brought the exhibit to every street corner in Manhattan using one of the last remaining relics of 1993: the pay phone. The campaign turned 5,000 of these pay phones into time machines, delivering 100s of stories from some of the most famous, infamous and influential New Yorkers of that time.

Execution

We recorded 100s of unique audio stories and recollections from some of the most famous, infamous and influential New Yorkers from 1993. We built a database containing every Manhattan pay phone number and acquired the toll-free phone number 1-855-FOR-1993. By categorizing and tagging each story by neighborhood within our database, we were able to serve stories specific to the location of each call, right down to the very street corner. We printed stickers, purchased kiosk media space, and created custom branded kiosk cutouts to help catch the eye of people on the street. We created a short web video to give an overview of the project that could be shared socially and with news outlets. This video was also hosted on our microsite, where visitors could listen to five featured stories and locate the nearest pay phones.

Outcome

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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