March 22-25, 2006
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sessions: Abstract

Buzz and Viral Marketing as a PR Tool for Museums: A Dutch case study

Marthe deVet, Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis, The Netherlands

In November 2005, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis was the first Dutch museum to launch an interactive, viral buzz campaign. The museum used it to draw attention to its new Web site in a playful way. The campaign was an experiment, because even though the business community has long been exploiting the potential of viral buzz marketing to the full, the use of these techniques is still quite uncommon in the museum world. Many cultural institutions still tend to think in terms of traditional marketing methods which they are eager to keep, in line with their house style and cultural image.

The Mauritshuis took its chances and reports on its findings in this case study. The article starts with the underlying theory. What is buzz and viral marketing? What value does this form of marketing add for museums? Subsequently, the Mauritshuis campaign is described in more detail. What was the idea behind the campaign? What was the museum aiming at with this campaign? What went well and what could have been better? And most of all: would we recommend it to you?

Session: Marketing and Communications [Marketing]

Keywords: viral, buzz, marketing, PR, game, museum, painting