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APG Awards: Tate Tracks

Date post:07-Sep-2014
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  • Synopsis This is a story about how planning created new content, not just communications.

    Its a paper that describes how Tate Modern connected with a group of 15-24 year old Londoners who had never been interested in traditional art.

    Plannings contribution was to lead the journey to the big idea and locate the insights that inspired it.

    We married their love of music with the Tates love of art to create something new.

    We called it Tate Tracks.

    It was an idea that pushed the brand into the headlines and into their world; a world where a contemporary art gallery had never been before.

    Planning was instrumental in creating something of worth and a vehicle that earned the brand the right to have an on-going conversation.

    Tate Tracks was a ground breaking idea for the category and one thats been strong enough to run over two years.

    It redefined communications for Tate Modern and evolved the traditional role of an ATL agency.

  • Introduction Its 8.15am on the no.55 bus in Hackney and a group of teenagers board the bus and move upstairs to grab the back seats (the same scene is played out all over London; from Archway to Paddington, Brixton to Bow).

    One of the group has a mobile phone on speaker and is playing the latest Roll Deep track. The heavy bass hooks are distorted by the quality of the speaker but this doesnt stop the boys nodding and bobbing their heads, slowly getting into the beat.

    After 30 seconds a sound clash; the girls are playing the hottest dance floor r n b track to a collective fit of giggles.

    Its hyperactive.

    Two boys and a girl in the corner start playing a hip-hop beat. The girl starts rapping freestyle. Her heads high, shes in flow and pulling words from the air. Then, she sits back, and with a swipe of her arm one of the boys takes over. Hes fast and intense and stares at the girl as he raps.

    Theres a comfortable feel of competition in the air.

    Suddenly the bell rings.

    Its their stop.

    They leave the bus chatting and pushing each other onto the pavement outside.

    Their infectious energy follows them.

    The problem: How does a contemporary art gallery connect with this group?

  • Why target London youth? Tate Modern, much like the BBC, has a list of public obligations it must abide by.

    The gallery is largely funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

    It exists to serve the nation and to increase public knowledge, understanding and appreciation of art.

    The gallery is driven by its mission to make art accessible to more people, especially 15-24 year olds within its local community; defined as London.

    Since its launch in 2000 it had struggled to meet this government promise.

    Therefore one of its key business objectives was to boost visitor numbers for this demographic.

    We were tasked with finding a new way to achieve this.

  • A broken model that needed fixing Tate Modern had tried to connect with this audience before.

    Traditional communications had achieved limited success.

    The gallery had created youth events that had used the vast space at Tate Modern, like the Turbine Hall.

    This temporarily engaged this audience but didnt introduce them to the art on display in the main gallery.

    It was therefore our job to find a novel way to link a creative idea (whatever that may be) to the art.

    No media had been booked for this project so the client was open to any recommendations.

    This was an open opportunity to do something bigger than an ad campaign.

    We wanted to create something of value that would enrich culture, not just be forgotten as another irrelevant initiative to target London youth.

  • Background Created in 2000 from a disused power station in the heart of London, Tate Modern displays the national collection of international modern art.

    After seven years its become a national icon.

    It has attracted over twenty million visitors.

    The gallery is traditional in the purest sense that it showcases works by the likes of Picasso, Leger, Epstein and Rothko.

    Its riding the crest of the contemporary art wave as the global market is booming. For thirty-somethings and above, arts the new fashion and its creators their icons.

    But for those inner city teenagers on that bus, Tate Modern means nothing.

    It has no relevance whatsoever.

    The gallery was therefore faced with a tough challenge amongst this group;

    - Tate Modern was not considered a place for them. - Their only interaction with art are tedious lessons at school.

    These barriers naturally meant that visitor numbers for 15-24 year old Londoners werent improving.

  • The objectives We were tasked with achieving:

    1.) Increased traffic of 15-24 year old inner city Londoners who have never been interested in traditional art.

    2.) Disproportionately high PR coverage on a low budget (100K).

    We needed to convince this difficult audience that the gallery was a place that could really mean something to them.

    We knew that perceptions were easier to build than break and that wed have to find a captivating and effective idea that would connect.

  • Understanding this audience

    Brands attempting to connect with this audience need to have a deep appreciation of their behaviour and habits.

    Credibility is earned, not bought.

    As a group theyre not difficult to identify - getting into their world however is another challenge.

    Identities for this group can change at a click of their Myspace page.

    We identified four key learnings about this group:

    1.) Music is more than an interest; its how they define themselves. Music is their social currency which means new news and shared experiences are important. Theyre hungry for anything music related and know the right places to look for break through acts and events.

    2.) Theyre restless and thirsty to self-discover. Theyre early adopters of everything from new music to new trainers.

    3.) In multi-cultural London they embrace diversity and have been bought up on a diet of different tastes fusing together.

    4.) The internet, digital photography and creative software come as second nature; they have a profound appreciation and understanding of the creative process.

  • Dispelling an urban myth It was in one of our initial client meetings that planning made its first contribution.

    Whilst framing the problem Tate Modern faced, our client said how do we get young teenagers to the gallery when theyre not interested in art?.

    We instinctively knew this statement wasnt true.

    They werent apathetic towards art.

    This group consume and create art at a dizzying speed; its just their definition of art was different to the establishment.

    A work of art for this group isnt a painted canvas hanging on a gallery wall; art is an infectious new track they hear on a Saturday night, its a flyer for a new club night, a provoking piece of graffiti theyve seen or a customised pair of trainers someone from college has created.

    They understand, and have a deep appreciation of, the craft and skill involved in creating art (e.g. music) that permeates popular culture.

  • The insights

    The idea was developed through both a consumer and media insight.

    By getting under the skin of this group we developed two insights:

    1. Music is the highest form of artistic expression.

    2. They willingly seek out music/band marketing and PR.

  • The Solution: A collaboration of two worlds This idea had to work harder than most to be consumer relevant and brand credible.

    In order to really connect with this group we had to become an active part of their world.

    We knew that for them, there was no line between music and art; they are one and the same.

    We were also aware that theres a healthy dose of collaboration between artists (e.g. musicians to fashion designers, graphic designers to graffiti artists) and young people are keenly aware that this cultural fusion helps to transform pieces (whatever they may be) into something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    As a group they value diversity and the new ideas that are created through the fusion of different tastes.

    We knew this much then; young people have a passion for music. Tate Modern has a passion for art.

    So why not bridge these two worlds and create something new?

  • The journey: In search of new We wanted to marry the two worlds of music and art in a cultural exchange.

    We wanted to plug music into the art world.

    It was our aim to create the same excitement they feel when they hear a new (and eagerly anticipated) track for the first time.

    The thrill they get from chasing the next thing.

    And like all of their most loved brands we wanted to contribute to youth culture not just be part of it; we wanted to do, not just say.

    To gain an introduction and start a conversation we also knew wed have to borrow heavily from the cultural cues of this group and reflect what was happening in their world.

    Our aim was to be seen as a brand that displayed knowledge, insight and effort.

    We understood that collaborations that work best exploit the topical, have PR value, salience and modernity.

    Just think of the driving shoe that Puma and Mini created or the Philippe Starck line launched for Target in the US.

    We knew a successful collaboration would give Tate Modern the opportunity to grow into new areas of branded content.

    This could be a new model for their future campaigns.

    But more importantly this idea would of

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