The Best Kickoffs Are Saved For The Best Clubs

How do get people to come to a museum that is losing relevance with the millennial generation? You reposition in a bold and unique way. Like Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) did as we learn on Friday.

Take typical club experience, except you have a few dinosaurs around you (no it’s not the alcohol) *THIS* is the ROM in all it’s glory. Friday Night Live (FNL) at the ROM is a rage with long queues and people waiting to get in, but thanks to the President of the RMA who knew some folks, the best club got the best kickoff.

Before we went onto to check the exhibits, we listened to as Kathryn Brownlie, Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Promotions, and Taylor Miatello, Lead Coordinator.

Kathryn leads marketing and creative strategy, as well as promotional partnerships and attendance forecasting for the Museum while Taylor oversaw the development and execution of the volcano projections on the façade of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal for the launch of Pompeii and the award-winning 3D archeological site chalk drawing on the ROM Plaza. Among other things of course.

From a dull run of the mill museum, that a small marketing team with a scarce marketing budget pulled off what they were able to was fascinating to hear about.

Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.

A theme that explored the multifaceted world of tattooing and the complex relationship between tattoo artists and tattooed. Coming from the musée du quai Branly in Paris, Tattoos is a concept that showcases a visual history of body art and markings along with prints, posters, ancient tools, and commissioned tattooed silicone body reproductions inked by some of the most respected tattooists in the world.

Tracing tattoos across continents and over time, the exhibition examined tattoo artists and the tattooed, exploring the factors that have made tattooing an important cultural practice, an art form, and a worldwide modern phenomenon.


For one night only, guests enjoyed complimentary admission to Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art. The ROM’s galleries were animated with Filipino dance group HATAW, temporary tattooing, and ROM collection items from “Out of the Vaults” inspired by Tattoos. Toronto Casting Director Julie Fitzsimmons of “Jules Casting” and Creator of Cancer campaign “Why We Ink” who shared stories of those inked for cancer.

What was important was that the marketing team had to convince the curators, people who are traditionalists with a watching paint dry approach. So to pull something off like this required courage and vision. And what was even heartening to hear was when Kathryn mentioned that “If people treated this only as a club and nothing more then we’d failed at our job”. To be cognizant of that showed us it wasn’t just a short term gimmick but a meaningful investment.

The RMA’s event calendar looked exciting. If the very first event was this kickass, I can’t wait to see how the rest will be. And as an RMA rep, I can’t wait to play a part in making them as awesome as this if not more.

The ‘Marketer of The Year’ concept was unveiled – which is a points based system for participation, initiative, performance, being a purple cow (nice Seth Godin reference there!), being collaborative, helping fellow RMA members, and enhacing the Rotman Marketing brand.

Challenge accepted.

$6 food and drink tickets meant that we could have some fun without burning holes in our pockets. Few better ways to spend Thanksgiving.

More photos from the event


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