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. NYC & Co., the official destination marketing organization for New York City, began conceiving the idea late last year to have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Michelangelo 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 & Co.’s director of PR. “It gave us 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 & Co. as 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 & Co. 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 on January 25, 2018.
This morning we welcomed Michelangelo, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (@TMNT) at The Met. Our celebrity guest came to see the work of an artist who happens to share his name. https://t.co/jUPJhto7Xr #MetMichelangelo pic.twitter.com/YS7T5xZv9a
— The Met (@metmuseum) 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 19,000 retweets and 37, 400 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.