Arts: Exhibition proves to be a masterpiece

Focus PR were called in to create a wide-reaching campaign for the second ever Masterpiece London.

Arts: Exhibition proves to be a masterpiece
Arts: Exhibition proves to be a masterpiece

Campaign: What Makes a Masterpiece?
Client: Masterpiece London
PR team: Focus PR
Timescale: September 2010-August 2011
Budget: £95,000

Masterpiece London, a major event in the art, antiques and luxury goods calendar, launched in 2010, bringing together leading exhibitors at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. For the 2011 event, Focus PR was engaged to create a wide-reaching international PR campaign, with results that exceeded year one.


- To achieve extensive, high quality national and international editorial in key territories

- To increase footfall and generate buzz among the target consumer group

- To position Masterpiece London as the ultimate destination event, bringing together 'the best of the best'

- To increase social media engagement.


Focus PR met 89 exhibitors before the fair, in order to seek out stories behind the dealers and their exhibits, and then converted these into editorial features.

Stories included unearthing world-famous masterpieces that would be shown at the fair, rare access to specific dealers and showcasing contemporary masterpieces commissioned specifically for the fair (including a bespoke Rolls-Royce). These ran alongside features on the event founders and other aspects of Masterpiece London, including the educational programme and special events.

The agency secured six international journalists to attend the fair: three from the US, one from Brazil, one from Beirut and one from Bahrain.

This resulted in reviews in Gulf Insider, Collection Magazine, The Magazine Antiques, Fine Art Connoisseur, Art & Antiques and RG Magazine.

Focus PR also ran the Facebook and Twitter accounts for Masterpiece London.


The campaign resulted in 328 editorial pieces, of which 20 per cent appeared in non-UK media.

Seven articles appeared in the Financial Times, which called the fair 'an unexpectedly resplendent phoenix', and three pieces in the International Herald Tribune. More than 200 journalists attended the event.

Extensive pieces were run in the Wall Street Journal Europe, Wall Street Journal and The World of Interiors. Country Life gave the event a cover mention and a six-page image-led preview.

Masterpiece London's Twitter following more than doubled and Facebook 'likes' grew by more than 50 per cent.


High profile collectors and visitors who attended the fair included Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey, Sir Elton John, Anish Kapoor, Uma Thurman and Tom Ford.

Footfall increased by 58 per cent on the 2010 fair, with a total of 28,347 visitors.

Millions of pounds worth of sales took place throughout the week, including a bespoke Rolls-Royce, a Lucian Freud Conte crayon on paper which was sold for a six-figure sum, a Regency twenty-four-light chandelier for approximately £500,000 and a diamond pin for more than £1m.


What is impressive about this campaign is the way that the team at Focus sliced, diced and packaged content for a range of media channels.

They leveraged every opportunity, from the rare and exclusive exhibits at the fair to its special set-piece events, to target media relevant to the high-networth visitors that could afford the price tag of the items on show.

And it's good to see that they did their homework ahead of the campaign by working with exhibitors to extract great stories that formed the core content.

Social media were used to extend reach and communicate news updates and details of the items for sale.

But there doesn't appear to have been much interaction from followers or fans, which could have been achieved through a greater range of content. There is certainly a great platform to build from for the next event now these channels have been established.

Most importantly, visitor numbers were significant for a relatively niche event and it's clear the PR campaign was central to its success.

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