Let there be light: Auckland Art Gallery and Special Group focus on the faces to promote latest exhibition

The Auckland Art Gallery is well known for its focus on the aesthetic, with both its branding and its building winning a number of awards. And it’s continued that trend with a campaign via Special Group to promote its latest exhibition, Light Show. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the importance of customer-centricity in business recently, something shown clearly in this illustration, so instead of showing the works of art, the campaign aims to demonstrate the emotional experience viewers have as they gaze upon them. 

The colourful images featured on street posters and bus shelter versions came to life with a constantly changing LED backlight, a first for Adshel. The images were then rolled out into digital, print and outdoor, while a large roving experiential ‘box of infinite light’ provides Aucklanders with an interactive tease of what they might find at the gallery. 

“Everyone’s experience of Light Show is so different,” says Special creative director, Maria Devereux. “It felt like the only way to do the exhibition justice was to turn the camera back on the viewer, so you’re intrigued enough to want to see what they’re seeing.” 

Special Group’s logo treatment was developed to “draw on the spectral nature of light, ever-changing and unable to be contained”. This treatment was applied to every aspect of the campaign, from signage and staff uniforms to advertising comms. 

“Light Show is immersive and sensory,” says Auckland Art Gallery marketing manager, Sara Laver. “It’s not about static images on a wall but about works that animate and experiences that engage. By expressing these qualities and communicating the emotional response—the awe and delight—that Light Show provokes, the campaign makes tangible the most magical aspects of the exhibition.” 

She says Alt Group created the gallery’s brand identity and it still works with the agency and other agencies on different projects (it also has an inhouse design team). As far as the numbers go, the interest has been high, with two late shows both selling out. And while exhibitions like Degas to Dali are bigger in terms of overall ticket sales, she says Light Show has had higher ticket sales than a comparable exhibition, Who Shot Rock and Roll.

The exhibition is curated by Hayward Gallery in London, with Auckland Art Gallery the first stop on its global tour. And it runs till Sunday February 8, 2015. We recommend the water strobes and some mild horse tranquiliser.  

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