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In 2015, 70 masterpieces from the most revered names in art came to Australia for the first time via an exhibition called The Greats, curated by the Art Gallery of NSW.

Following a series of successful exhibitions, including Picasso’s Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, this exhibition being key to ongoing success of the gallery, the budget was just $50k.

A younger Sydneysider audience was identified during audience segmentation as the growth opportunity; Culture Casuals. Culture Casuals are urban 18-39 Sydneysiders with a high propensity to attend cultural events and always looking to try new things.

UM needed to get a better understanding about how Culture Casuals felt about the exhibition. So, naturally, it went and had a face-to-face chat with them.

Experiencing new cultural attractions is important to this audience and acts as a form of social currency. The qualitative research revealed, however, that Cultural Casuals were aware of the Great artists, including Gauguin, Michelangelo and Leonardo), yet they didn’t know anything about the works themselves, nor did they feel like they were relevant to today’s culture. The problem was that most young Sydneysiders thought that old art… was well, old.

What is about the great artists of the past that still resonates today? For Culture Casuals it was more than the beauty of the work it was the detail and craft that shone through. The great artists weren’t just artists they were also artisans.


The communications opportunity was to celebrate artisans rather than just the artists. This was an opportunity that traditional advertising would not address.

So whilst the artists were masters of their craft and had painted some of the most influential works of our time, the agency still needed to find a way to create that relevance by drawing new parallels with today’s modern culture. 

Through qualitative research and social listening UM discovered that artisanal enterprise was at the core of modern culture in Sydney. It learned that Cultural Casuals were passionate about new music, boutique bars and bartenders, foodie culture and farmers markets.

But there was one theme that stood out … craft beer.

Following an explosion of new styles, collaboration and experimentation, the Sydney craft beer scene has never before been as creative, exciting or as popular. It defies convention and has huge sociability.

The strategy was to bring ‘old art’ and young cultural casuals together though the medium of craft beer.

The agency assessed Sydney’s booming craft beer scene to identify potential brand partners that matched and were dynamic enough to create relevancy with Culture Casuals.

A relationship exists between brand dynamism and brand value. The assessment was based on four factors: agility, responsiveness, innovation and sociability.

Young Henrys stood out as the ultimate brewing partner for this project, from whom the agency could leverage its dynamism and unique connection with the target audience.

They are one of Sydney’s hottest craft brewers with distribution across some of the coolest bars and a significant and active community of their own. UM challenged Young Henrys to create a one-off beer, inspired by The Greats. After hanging out at the gallery, soaking up the art, they came up with a new beer recipe. 


Introducing; Old Master; A smooth, malt driven, Scottish ale with gentle oak and spicy hops. A craft beer inspire by the work of The Greats.

The activity had three strategic elements to it:

1. Create a new viewing opportunity: Old Master was launched at a special night at the gallery; with influencers, publishers and Sydney’s in-crowd gaining earned media attention of both the Gallery and Young Henrys. Following the success of launch night AGNSW established a new late night program- Up Late with The Greats.

2. New places to connect: Old Master was distributed across 15 Young Henrys pubs, creating a host of new connections opportunities including branded bottles, bar taps, blackboards, posters, beer mats and social media. Even the bar staff saw the exhibition early and become on ground influencers. And of course social media allowed it to continue the story, helping the exhibition to become part of Sydney’s social undercurrent.

3. New stories to share: The agency produced and distributed content that captured different parts of the journey of this unique collaboration; from Young Henrys finding inspiration in the work through to the brew process. This was supported across AGNSW social channels and Young Henrys’ online communities.


The exhibition was a huge success for The Gallery, attracting both traditional art aficionados as well the younger ‘Cultural Casuals’.

1. News that the craft beer “The Old Master” had been created to celebrate The Greats exhibition reached 66% of young social Sydneysiders via earned editorial - over a six weeks period. This was 46% above target.

2. Social engagement increased by 52% amongst this audience – measured via positive social mentions, views, likes and shares.

3. Attracted over 15,000 additional visitors through the Up Late with The Greats series.

4. The video content of the ‘collaboration’ attracted 426,888 views.

5. Over 9,412 Old Master beers were drank, contributing to additional 7% of visitors having come after tasting Old Master.

No paid media dollars changed hands in this ‘unexpected’ partnership. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. A production budget of only $50k was spent on owed and shared assets to create this earned attention.

Over this time pricing remained consistent and all metrics focused on the messaging around the Young Henrys Partnership. All value could be directly attributed to this campaign.

By collaborating with Young Henrys, Art Gallery of NSW created a socially geared medium in its own right – becoming part of popular cultural conversation.

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Art Gallery of NSW
Government/Public Sector
December 2015 - February 2016
Media Channel:
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  • FMAs shortlisted

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