Combining Art with Advertising for Social Media

by Jack Sommer

Brands don't have to be overt with their advertisements anymore. Experiences are showing that brands can be more about just selling their products and that subtlety in social media wins. More and more companies are sponsoring events that are around bigger concepts, often artistic and interactive in nature, which tie back into their brand in organic ways.

Museum Of Ice Cream, New York City, 2016

As a result, new types of branded experience "museums" are connecting brands with their customers. A recent example is the Museum Of Ice Cream (MOCI), which was sponsored by an assortment of brands like Tinder, Dove, and Dylan's Candy Bars. It took place in NYC, right by the Whitney Museum and the High Line, for about a month during August. 

Dove offered towering serving bowls of chocolate and Dylan's Candy Bar offered candy samples, but Tinder took it to a different level. Tinder had an interactive exhibit within MOCI where visitors could "discover their true flavor match" or use a space within the museum, called Tinder Land, as a place for a first date. If you wanted to seesaw with your date on a giant ice cream scooper or swing together on an ice cream sandwich, you were in luck. And yes, you could even get an ice cream cone, too! It all came with your ticket admission, and each week was a different flavor ice cream at a price of $18 for one person or $36 for couples. 

Even in a short amount of time, though, it made a strong impact. Especially on social media. In fact, it was specially designed - or at least very much kept in mind - for thinking of it in terms of being ideal for sharing (on Instagram in particular, confirmed by the museum's Social Media Director, Madison Utendahl, as it's such a visual experience). The interactive "sprinkle pool" was one of the main attractions as a colorful, appealing, and unique setting for a photo.

Pantone Cafe, Monaco, 2016

Factoring in social media, and Instagram in particular, is certainly not something unique to only the Museum of Ice Cream. This summer, a Pantone Cafe (that we also wrote about here) opened with Pantone color swatches decorating everything from the facade of their booth to the food and the napkins. In the Cafe's newsletter, they described it as "the most Instagrammable restaurant of the summer." This social-sharing geared mindset is a reality now. It has to be at least considered, although it shouldn't necessarily dictate the constraints of ideas entirely. 

Glade did their own "Museum of Feelings" last Fall where they made a temporary exhibit that 56,000 people attended. The idea of the exhibit was to get people to remember a smell (one of many from Glade's scented products) to create a memorable experience by connecting the scents with feelings and visuals.

The different rooms within Glade's experience had their own theme and scent. The five emotions representative of each room were Optimism, Joy, Invigorated, Exhilarated, and Calm. 

  • Joy - An "LED jellyfish forest" of green vines dangling from above and reflecting on a ground mirror. Also had a faint smell of fir trees 
  • Invigorated - A halo of color and motion tracks the footsteps of people in the room, who are given 3D glasses to fully experience the types of graphics in this specific space
  • Calm - A glowing purple "cloud room" with a fog machine and carpeted floor
  • Exhilarated - A pink room of kaleidoscope of mirrors 
  • Optimistic - A room filled with curtains that guide the user to the center of the room and activate sensors that trigger ambient audio and light as people move through the space

The idea of these was to have each of these sensory experiences to explore the relationships between scents and emotions in a fun, interactive, and colorful way.

It's more interesting to go to these brand museums and installations - overall categorized as "Experiences" - are a way to connect with audiences in an artistic, subtle promotion. We hope that the trend continues as it's more interesting to go to a museum - especially these branded museums and share it on social media - than it is to get a pre-roll Ad on YouTube or looking at a billboard through your car window.