No one in Columbus was telling the Columbus arts story consistently, comprehensively, or engagingly. In fact, editorial coverage by the New York Times and Huffington Post did a better job of capturing the vibe and depth of the Columbus arts scene than did any internal efforts. The city’s individual arts organizations were distributing plenty of information, but not enough inspiration.
In the past, efforts had targeted the support of business and civic leaders, hoping for a trickle-down effect to the masses. Our research and the resulting strategy suggested a different approach: a bold, comprehensive campaign that could include all the city’s widely varying arts organizations under one big idea, aimed directly at ticket buyers.
The people who create this city’s art have incredible stories—captivating tales of creation and inspiration. And no other city has this collection of talent, with this level of support, affordability, and freedom to create. We recommended focusing on these stories, offering insight into the madness and commitment and amazement of the arts that have such a huge impact on our city. Because the more audiences know about the people who create Columbus’s art, the more they’ll want to experience it.
What better way to show the direct relationship the arts have on our city than a simple statement and graphic that illustrates just how much they depend on each other? The statement easily translated to individual artists, too.
We scripted a set of videos that brought the artists’ stories to life, working with WOSU to produce the series. These videos are shown at events, throughout the campaign website, and through digital and outdoor ads all over Columbus.
All of the promotional media drove to a site that featured the stories of a diverse collection of artists—and connected users to tickets directly from any event’s page.
Individual artists, arts organizations, and patrons used the tag #artmakescbus to promote the unified campaign and to reflect the complete range of arts and experiences.
It was essential that all of the city’s arts organizations start telling the same story in the same way, and they needed the tools to tell it easily. We created a online toolkit that was full of easy reference material, content, and template downloads.