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National Geographic Museum

Breaking down barriers
between consumer and brand.

Here’s a marketing plan that began in 246 B.C. when China’s first emperor commissioned an entire army of terracotta warriors to protect his tomb and ensure a safe afterlife.

Fast forward thousands of years to when the Terracotta Warriors made D.C. the last stop on its U.S. road show. To promote the event, SmithGifford brought the experience beyond the museum walls and into the streets. Imagine life-sized warriors scattered throughout D.C., interacting with nearly every passerby. Now watch the video below and you won’t have to.


After we hit the streets, we went underground with posters in Metro stations. Add to that radio, banner ads, and even a rap video, and the effect was that creative and media became one in the same.

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The results: a full month before the opening, National Geographic Museum had sold over 120,000 tickets, more than three times as many as any other U.S. museum before opening day. The web banners we created had the highest click-through rates in Washington Post history. And the exhibit itself was so successful that the museum extended it by several weeks. Their extension also sold out.

Suffice to say, the folks in the marketing department at National Geographic were seen as conquering heroes.

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