Pablo Picasso once said, “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”
True, but they can also help sell an exhibit. Case in point: The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia, put a small budget toward a campaign promoting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’s Picasso Exhibit “Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris,” which begins February 19. The campaign includes QR codes in print and out-of-home ads plus a dedicated Facebook Page. The QR codes access a website featuring 15 pieces of Picasso’s art, plus a link to buy tickets. (The website, discoverthemaster.com, is different when accessed via a mobile phone. When reached from a desktop or laptop, it leads to the exhibit’s Facebook site.)
“We started thinking about Picasso and how progressive he was as an artist and it made sense to use technology,” says Keith Cartwright, group creative director at the Martin Agency. One problem, though: QR Codes are so ugly. Here, the agency found a solution by incorporating the QR codes into a portrait of the artist.
Ads sporting QR codes will soon go up in 33 Starbucks locations in Richmond. Go inside and you can seeaugmented reality visions of Picasso’s art on the walls using a Layar browser. Fans in Philadelphia will also be able to see the exhibit via AR at an empty store space on South Street. (Below is a mock-up of how the Philadelphia exhibit is supposed to look.)
A Facebook Page, meanwhile, includes information on geocoordinates in various cities where fans can experience Picasso’s work via AR. The Facebook Page also includes several Picasso renderings, plus a link to buy tickets. Below are the geocoordinates for displays in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.
Cartwright says that he felt the agency had to do its best to publicize the exhibit, which will feature 176 pieces of the artist’s work. The bold images were designed to get a reaction, he says. “We just wanted to provoke, which is what Picasso wanted to do.”