Campaign: Modern art fest draws lucrative crowd - Consumer Comms

Campaign: Frieze Art Fair 2004

Client: Frieze

PR team: Idea Generation

Timescale: March-November 2004

Budget: Less than £15,000

The Frieze Art Fair, held for the second time in October 2004, in London, was the largest single contemporary art exhibition ever staged in the UK. The five-day event brought together 140 of the world's top galleries and more than 1,000 contemporary artists, all housed in a temporary structure in Regent's Park. The fair, organised by contemporary art magazine Frieze, hosted an ambitious series of artists' commissions, talks with leading art professionals, educational projects for local schools, and a music programme.

The directors of the fair, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, briefed PR agency Idea Generation to help raise the profile of the fair in the international and national media.

Objectives

To attract visitors to the fair, by gaining maximum media exposure. To increase turnover of the art works sold at the fair.

Strategy and Plan

The target audience was broad: ranging from professional art collectors and dealers; to members of the public with an interest in art; and potential collectors who wanted to spend at least a few hundred pounds. One of the messages was that the fair celebrated contemporary art, and that it was not an elitist event.

The team embarked on a nine-month media relations campaign, targeting national and international newspapers, consumer and trade publications, as well as national and international radio and TV broadcasters.

A dedicated arts team brainstormed possible angles for every target media outlet with the show's directors, including the subjects of art collecting and the art market, and sell-ins such as stories about commissioned artists.

The title sponsor of the event was Deutsche Bank, which holds the largest corporate collection of contemporary art in the world, so the feature proposals also included angles such as the importance of corporate arts sponsorship.

A photocall was held on each day of the fair, to give the media enough opportunity to cover it. These included the installation of the outside works, the finished show, the commissioned artists and general shots of the fair.

Measurement and Evaluation

The art fair was covered in more than 40 news stories, 25 features, 150 listings and 18 broadcast interviews.

Highlights of the coverage included three-page features in The Daily Telegraph Magazine, the Financial Times' How to Spend It and The Sunday Times' Style magazine, as well as news and features in The Guardian and its Guide, and features in The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, the Evening Standard, Die Welt, El Pais and Le Monde.

Coverage is still coming in and there has not been any formal evaluation, but in-house analysis estimates that the tone was positive.

Results

There were 42,000 visitors to the art fair over five days, a 50 per cent increase on 2003's 28,000 visitors. The turnover of the art sold at the fair was estimated at around £26m, up £10m on 2003.

'Frieze was a story for our readers because it is an important art fair that has come very far, very fast,' says Daily Telegraph art sales correspondent Will Bennett. 'We are the only paper with a page devoted to the art market and the PR team got onto me early and was very active.'

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