adam&eveDDB campaign highlights how the V&A has something for everyone

It’s one of our nation’s biggest cultural treasures, but most people think London’s Victoria & Albert Museum “isn’t for them”. A new campaign led by adam&eveDDB is attempting to change all that.

Let’s be honest. If you work as a creative professional, you probably like the idea of going to art galleries and museums on a regular basis. It’s just that… well, life gets in the way. And so few of us visit these places as often as we’d like.

When it comes to the general population, the situation is even worse. Many people rarely or never go to museums, often because they don’t think such places are “for them”, which is a huge shame because, without being jingoistic about it, Britain really does have some of the finest museums in the world. And in London especially, it is packed to the rafters with cultural inspiration everywhere you go.

One of our favourites is the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. Everything’s curated beautifully, and they’re always doing fantastic temporary exhibitions. Quite honestly, it’s worth the visit just to marvel at the architecture.

But not everyone’s found that out for themselves. So adam&eveDDB recently launched an innovative campaign that hones in on exactly why the V&A is so great.

Passion project

Designed to resonate with niche passions, the campaign is based on the tagline “If you’re into it, it’s in the V&A”. In other words, whatever you’re interested in – from punk to pottery, stamps to streetwear – you’ll find the V&A has exhibits that chime with that passion.

This concept stems the insight that whilst most people have heard of the V&A, fewer people feel familiar with what the museum offers; and that’s particularly true of younger generations. The idea, then, is highlight the relevance of the collection and increase visits to the V&A online and in person.

Mark Shanley, creative director at adam&eveDDB, explains the thinking behind the campaign. “What are you into?” he asks. “Football? Fashion? Flappy Bird? Yes, they’re all in the V&A. Jewellery. Yep. Star Wars? Loads of it. The world’s oldest, most beautiful and historically important carpet. Yes, they have that too. And 2.8 million other things. Come to the V&A and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.”

The campaign includes hyper-targeted activations, including buried treasures for metal detectorists and bespoke creations for cultural festivals. It’s being supported by a mass-media push and influencer collaborations.

Interactive element

To land the campaign message in a multi-faceted, highly targeted way, the V&A and adam&eveDDB are working with dozens of skilled creators to produce a wide range of unique objects.

Each object has been designed to appeal to specific interest groups, from the mainstream to the extremely niche. The objects all come together to form a variety of playful encounters with the V&A.

Selected objects will be placed in unknown locations across the UK to be discovered by relevant enthusiasts as they are pursuing their passions, and feature QR codes that link directly to relevant items in the V&A collection.

Among the niche object activations is a silverware stunt, in which a century-old silver tankard engraved with a unique message has been buried in a popular Oxfordshire metal-detecting location; limited edition embroidered pocket squares to be given away at a specialist tailor; and a handmade two metre-long battle flag, which was displayed by an armoured participant for a battle reenactment group.

There’s also been an online stunt within the popular video game Grand Theft Auto Online, in which the campaign message was displayed on the clothing of TikTok influencer Shlottie’s avatar as she broadcasted live on Twitch.

Other treats to come include:

a bespoke knit created by skilled artisan Onyinye Achusiogu, to be worn at The Stitch Festival (21st – 24th March)
a London theatre seat featuring a specially engraved plaque
a 120-year-old book that has been painstakingly rebound and will be left on the shelves of a vintage bookshop
a bespoke 3D animation to be played before a film in the cinema, paying homage to the classic style of production company pre-rolls and reminding movie-goers that “If you’re into cinema, it’s in the V&A”.

These stunts are complemented by a robust social media presence, including bespoke Instagram films created in collaboration with niche influencers such as @Wainwrightbookbinding, @Me.Old.China, and @hookednbusy, plus TikTok films featuring punks and battle reenactment groups that all work to deliver engaging content across various digital platforms, ensuring broad accessibility and participation.

The joy of making

For Mark, it’s all been a very special experience. “Getting to make creative things for a living is a gift,” he enthuses. “To make them for the home of creativity is a unique privilege.”

“As a family of museums dedicated to the power of creativity, our mission is to champion design and creativity in all its forms for everyone,” adds Sophie Rouse, head of integrated marketing and insight at the V&A. “Our new campaign gives space for people to enjoy all the incredible things they are into, with us.

“We’re not here to define what creativity is,” she qualifies. “We’re here to give people the space to define it themselves and find joy in doing so. From hyper-niche creative activations to high impact posters, the inclusiveness and versatility of the campaign enables us to tap into popular culture and trends in a highly targeted way. Proving that the V&A really does have something for everyone.”

Media coverage

The campaign will target niche interests with programmatic display and press ads in specialist publications – reaching people in the places they go to feed their passions.

The hyper-targeted activity is supported by a mass-media push across OOH, press, digital and social media, showcasing 70 objects representing popular passions such as football, music and fashion.

Every object featured in these campaign executions links back to real objects in the V&A collection, showing that the museum has every possible interest covered.

To ensure the V&A continues to serve every niche passion, the campaign also features a nationwide recruitment drive, created with Hope&Glory PR, to identify nine new ‘Superfan Advisors’.

Selected fans will be joining the ranks of the V&A’s team to share their love and knowledge about their chosen subjects: Taylor Swift, Toby Jugs, Emojis, Tufting, Gorpcore, LEGO, Pokemon, Crocs and Drag.

Media for the campaign was planned and bought by PHD, spanning dynamic OOH, DCO digital display, press and social media.

Contextual ads featuring 70 objects from the museum’s permanent collection are running across a number of media platforms, utilising the dynamic creative and optimisation capabilities of Omnicom Media Group’s Adylic to contextually match ads to their relevant environments, such as football, music and fashion. Design agency Soup are responsible for paid social animation in museum screens and tunnel poster design and production.

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