As Science North’s marketing agency of record, the Petryna Advertising team works with the marketing and science staff at Ontario’s second largest science centre to develop creative and advertising campaigns.
We take great pleasure in working on Science North campaigns for a number of reasons – we all love visiting the science centre and experiencing its attractions firsthand and we also enjoy the strategic aspects of working in tourism and education.
Developing campaigns for museums and attractions like Science North present a special set of opportunities and challenges. One of the special challenges faced by established, high profile venues like Science North is to provide consumers a reason to visit now. With success and familiarity there is a tendency to put off a visit, since the attraction is “always there”.
Special exhibitions or other limited time events provide a distinct opportunity to drive attendance. Successful special exhibition campaigns also have the potential to drive ongoing visitation, public awareness and donor support. That’s why we see these exhibitions as a unique opportunity.
Like many museums, Science North typically rotates between special exhibitions they have developed and exhibits brought in from other museums/science centres. The Imaginate Exhibition was obtained from the Ontario Science Center to run from February until the end of April, 2016. Our campaign for Imaginate aimed to build on the overall theme and branding that had been developed by the Pacific Science Center that had housed the exhibit previously, while expanding the overall creative.
The “Girl with Wings” poster developed by the Pacific Science Centre provided a great starting point. Science North liked the overall look and the idea of a picture of a child that featured elements of the natural and technological – in this case two illustrated wings, one natural and another that looked mechanical. Given Science North’s overall branding is active and immersive, we decided to build on this idea and make it more action oriented.
Our team developed three concepts to demonstrate the overall theme of the hands-on exhibition. One was an adaptation of the PSC’s “girl with wings” and placed in a new, happy and excited girl in a more action oriented pose. Two additional original concepts were created and featured a combination of objects found within the exhibit, like a paper airplane and gears, interposed with more complex technology in the form of detailed engineering drawings and made happy, active children a part of the scene.
This concept was carried into an animated TV spot of similar design, and corresponding radio commercials, billboards, arena rink boards, posters, print ads and digital ads. The overriding feature of all elements was imagination, excitement and enthusiasm. It also created a sense of urgency and eagerness to experience this limited time exhibition before it was gone.
Overall, Science North experienced high volumes of traffic to the exhibit and even exceeded its attendance goals for key time periods. Most importantly, visitor feedback showed that those who attended enjoyed their experiences at both the exhibition and the rest of the science centre. Our team was happy with how the creative elements came to fruition and were thrilled that campaign was successful.