American Museum in Britain turns to YouTube for viral marketing campaign

By Richard Moss | 10 May 2007
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a photograph of two men dressed as cowboys next to a horse

The tongue in cheek video uses humour to get across the message of the museum

Museums are always looking for new marketing strategies to publicise their exhibitions and attract new audiences, and now a museum in Bath has decided to dip its toe into the murky waters of viral marketing - by making a short film for the video sharing site YouTube to advertise its latest exhibition.

The American Museum in Britain is using YouTube to publicise its American Heritage exhibition with a tongue in cheek promotional video featuring a cast of characters from American history.

The clip, snappily titled, Do You Know the way to the American Museum in Britain, is the brainchild of Cheltenham marketing & PR agency apt, who are attempting to tap into the potentially effective world of online platforms - increasingly important as people begin to increasingly reject traditional mass media and ad space in favour of their PC screen.

a photograph of a woman dressed as a Native American woman

A native American woman is just one of the characters in the video

“We wanted to get out there with something that is attractive to younger users – something that might get the interest going,” explained Julian Blades, deputy Director of the Museum.

“We do have a serious collection here with a serious message but we’re trying to attract new audiences – audiences that might be turned on by the style of thing you might get on YouTube.”

The film features a cast of characters including a Native American squaw, a Confederate general, a cowboy and a not very convincing Marilyn Monroe look-alike each trying to find their way from the centre of Bath to the Museum.

What prompted the Museum to have a stab at tapping into this very 21st century way of attracting visitors is the recent £1m investment in a new exhibition called American Heritage.

a photograph of a bank of tv screens with pictures of people and writing on them

The American Heritage exhibition uses interactives to engage audiences in the history of the USA

The exhibition uses an array of state of the art technologies and interactives to tell the story of US culture from the Early European settlers on the East Coast past the civil war period up to today and how people understand and perceive the United States of America.

“The film is tongue in cheek and it’s playful,” added Julian, “and really that’s what the American Heritage exhibition is about – its playfulness and its interactivity – it’s a great family experience.”

“On one level it’s aimed at the kids with all the interactive technology that it contains and on another there is a serious message for the adults – what we’re doing is entertaining in order to engage people with the message we are trying to get over.”

Do you know the way to the American Museum? Find out by watching the video on You Tube
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