What is the best way to market the Maharaja exhibition to the South Asian community in the GTA? That was the major question posed to advisory committee last week by the the marketing, public relations, and programming departments at the AGO.
The committee was peppered with questions, from where the billboards targeting the South Asian community should go, to what languages should be used for advertising. That question led to a rather energetic debate between some who proposed Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi as the key languages to others who felt it would be unfair to ignore Tamil or Bengali. We definitely proved that the South Asian community is also a group of communities!
Also asked: What would be a great tag-line to go with the exhibition? Something with a call-to-action. What’s an example? The one that got everyone in the room aha-ing was the AGO’s own ad campaign, the catchy “Gotta Go to the AGO” that ran during the opening of the Frank Gehry redesign.
After some silence – it was a tough question – the discussion revolved around the issue about how to excite folks within these groups to come to Maharaja if they are not regular gallery visitors. The AGO voices around the table recognize that minorities still don’t feel like the AGO is theirs. It’s one reason the advisory committee was convened.
So the question shifted – how important is it to a minority community to see themselves in a mainstream space? Pretty darned important is a paraphrase of the answer.
One suggestion was tapping into cultural pride. Would something like “India at the AGO” on a billboard in Brampton draw 905-ers downtown? Or would that alienate people with a Pakistani background? (Check out an earlier blog post: What makes Maharaja a Risky Business.)
What do you think? Tell us your ideas about attracting new audiences to the AGO’s upcoming Maharaja exhibition.