CAMPAIGNS: Launch PR - Tate Modern opening wins wide acclaim

Client: Tate

PR team: In-house

Campaign: Launch of Tate Modern

Timescale: May 2000

Budget: Approximately pounds 300,000

Tate Modern opened on 12 May 2000. It was the first national museum to

open in London in a century, and the first national museum for modern

art in London. Tate Modern is a Millennium Commission-funded


Tate's in-house team, which handled the launch, won the Not for Profit

award in the IPR Excellence Awards last month.


To double numbers and broaden the demographic profile of Tate visitors

(from around two million visitors a year). To clarify the roles of the

two London Tates and establish Tate Modern's reputation as a leading

international museum. To recognise Tate's responsibility to the

community, and present Tate Modern as value for money and a major

millennium project.

Strategy and Plan

It was essential to define Tate and establish the role and remit of its

four galleries. Before the team could launch Tate Modern, it needed to

relaunch the existing Tate Gallery in London as Tate Britain.

Working with PR consultancy Bolton & Quinn, the communications team

enlisted the support of high-profile endorsers and media.

Site tours of Bankside power station, and national and international

press announcements maintained interest.

To attract a wide audience, it was necessary to have support from TV,

the mid-market papers, and, crucially, the tabloids.

Channel 4 made a four-part documentary on the architecture and building

project and it was featured in four BBC2 art documentaries.

Special supplements were arranged in advance - including in The Observer

to launch Tate Britain; and an art supplement in Vogue.

To ensure the opening of Tate Modern established the gallery firmly in

the international art arena, the teams worked with PR agencies in France

and New York to achieve extensive coverage in the relevant world


Tate wanted to ensure that the local residents and community groups were

involved with and benefited from the new gallery. Tate appointed a

development officer to work closely with local residents and community

groups, and hosted a private view for local residents and press.

A range of promotions supported a wide-ranging advertising campaign.

They included special coffee cups for Coffee Republic; Wagamana

chopsticks promoting the Friends scheme; Tate Beer, and a Royal Mail


Artists helped launch Tate Britain and Tate Modern with

specially-commissioned work, such as a fanfare for the Queen's formal

opening of Tate Modern, composed by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and a front

cover for The Observer Life by Tracey Emin. The opening of Tate Modern

was marked by a laser show projected on to the facade.

Measurement and Evaluation

So far, four million visitors have been to Tate Modern alone - double

expectations. More than one million came in the first six weeks. The

website registers 24 million hits per month.

Thirteen tabloid articles reached around 32.5 million readers. Total

audience reach through national TV alone during April, May and June 2000

was around 126.7 million.


During 2000, Tate was one of the ten most talked-about brands, an

extraordinary achievement for a cultural organisation.

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