Why a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle visited the Met's Michelangelo exhibit

Michelangelo, meet Michelangelo.

Company: NYC & Company
Campaign: Mikey Meets Michelangelo at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Agency mix: In-house team
Duration: January 25, 2018

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Michelangelo art exhibit got some turtle power when it was visited by the artist's crime-fighting namesake from Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

On November 13, 2017, the Met launched a three-month Michelangelo art exhibit, titled Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer. Late last year, NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for New York City, began concepting the idea of having Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo, also known as Mikey, visit the exhibit.

"This was intended to be a fun play on their shared name that just happened to be well-timed," explained Kim Klein, NYC & Company’s director of PR. "It gave NYC & Company a chance to showcase a visit to the Met as a family-friendly activity for locals and visitors in New York City to engage in, and, ultimately, carry on our family travel message."

Since 2016, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have partnered with NYC & Company as the Official NYC Family Ambassadors, a program launched in 2009 to promote the city as a family-friendly destination. Previous Family Ambassadors include: Dora and Friends, Curious George, and The Muppets.

NYC & Company looked to execute on a media outreach strategy, as well as leverage its branded social channels and those of the Met.

The Met tweeted out a post about the Ninja Turtle’s visit to the exhibit to its nearly 4.2 million followers early on January 25, 2018.

With an official photographer in tow, Mikey posed for pictures within the exhibit, in other spaces throughout the museum, and outside on the museum’s iconic steps. The campaign team immediately sent official photographs of Mikey at the Met to media that morning.

"We initially aimed to target local New York media and travel press," said Klein.

The Met's tweet went viral, with a slew of media outlets posting about the anthropomorphic turtle’s visit, including: Business Insider, Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, HuffPost, and Time Out New York.

The Met's initial post on Twitter about Mikey visiting the exhibit netted 18,500 retweets and 37,300 likes.

The campaign landed more than 120 media placements, with many global placements in countries outside the U.S., including Brazil, U.K., India, Mexico, and Argentina.

The Met recently announced that over 700,000 visitors attended the Michelangelo exhibit, making it the 10th most visited exhibition since the museum was founded in 1870.

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