Hatching the story of a dinosaur on the loose in Cardiff

  • Drive target audience to the Museum’s website, specifically generating a 9% year on year increase in website views between May to November
  • To sell over 300 exhibition tickets per day for first five days (this was a paid exhibition in what is a usually a free Museum)
  • To achieve 25% more web page views than the previous year's paid-for exhibition Treasures: Adventures in Archaeology which received 3,888 per month
  • To introduce a new social media platform to the Museum for the campaign.
  • Generated a 39.3% increase in traffic to the website in the teaser campaign alone (18th-27th May)
  • 113% increase in ticket sales target – selling 3207 in first five days
  • National Museum Cardiff enjoyed record visitor figures in July and August with 134,813 visitors across these two months, exceeding targets by 23%
  • Dinosaur Babies exhibition attracted 35,945 visitors for the period ending 3rd September 2017, exceeding the target for visitors to date
  • The Dinosaur Babies exhibition web page saw 10,300 views in month 1
  • Developed a Snapchat filter for the exhibition launch day resulting in 1360 views
  • National Museum Wales group had its best ever August visitor figures of 297,792, with all four museums directly involved in the campaign exceeding their August targets.
  • The campaign won the Best Use of Social Media Award at the Chartered  Institute of PR’s PRide Awards and a Silver in the International Design and Communications Awards in Los Angeles.

Generated an increase in traffic to the website in the teaser campaign alone
increase in ticket sales target – selling 3207 in first five days
record visitor figures at National Museum Cardiff across July and August
297,792 visitors
Record visitor figures across National Museum Wales group
How we did it?

National Museum Cardiff was looking for an agency to run a digital campaign to promote its family-friendly ‘Dinosaur Babies’ exhibition. Unlike before, the Museum wanted to promote the exhibition using experiential tactics, in the form of huge installations which would appear across Cardiff city centre over the course of 10 days leading up to the exhibition launch, which shaped the narrative of a dinosaur on the loose.

The campaign began with a statue of Thomas H Thomas, the first man to discover dinosaur traces in Wales and a founding father of National Museum Wales, appearing overnight on Cardiff’s Queen St. 48 hours later, the statue had been destroyed, with huge dinosaur faeces quite literally dumped next to it, while shop windows were smashed up. Only a few days later, large dinosaur footprints appeared outside the Museum, exhibition banners were ripped up and eventually huge dinosaur claws emerged on top of the Museum entrance. With such strange happenings taking place across the city, it was our job to bring the narrative to life through a strategic, yet engaging, social media campaign.

How We Did It

With our appointment just over two weeks before the launch of the exhibition, we were aware careful planning would be fundamental to such a short, sharp campaign.  From the outset we were aware the tone of the campaign was unlike anything National Museum Cardiff had done before and as a result we were able to create playful, creative content that got people talking about #DinoOnTheLoose.

Rather than just using social media to ‘show and tell’ the events, our strategy was to create an imagined world around the installations to really engage audiences in the story. For 10 days we took audiences away from Cardiff and to a world where a very real dinosaur might just be on the loose.

At the heart of this was:

The Daily Draco Newspaper

  • Eight prehistoric bilingual newspapers called The Daily Draco, named in honour of Dracoraptor, the Welsh dinosaur discovered in 2016. The newspaper, designed in-house at Working Word, tracked the real story of the strange happenings going on around the city, reporting at regular intervals as new twists and turns occurred. The posts were shared at key times of day on Twitter and Facebook using #DinoOnTheLoose.

The Daily Draco Video News Reports

  • Four short videos in the style of a news report that summarised everything that had occurred in the city centre on that day, whether it was the arrival of a big pile of dinosaur poo or huge footprints outside the Museum. The videos allowed us to show how engaged the public were in the campaign from its first day. We created one final video which compiled footage from the week telling the full story, which was issued on the launch day of the exhibition, again using #DinoOnTheLoose.

Snapchat Filter

  • Bespoke filter designed to incorporate the Dinosaur Babies and National Museum Cardiff brand, which ran on Snapchat throughout the day of the Dinosaur Babies launch over the Museum’s location giving visitors another way to engage with the campaign. With the rise of Snapchat’s popularity with a younger audience, we felt this was a very cost effective way of introducing a brand new social platform to the Museum, targeting new audiences while doing so.

Blogger engagement

  • To ensure that the momentum of the Dinosaur Babies launch campaign continued once the exhibition had opened to the public, we invited key local family bloggers to the launch to experience what the exhibition had to offer and share their stories on their blog and social channels. The tactic allowed for us to guarantee a steady stream of blog coverage appearing online following the launch, creating shareable content for social and continuing to spread the word about the Dinosaur Babies exhibition.