Art Gallery of Ontario Case Study


  • Art Gallery of Ontario - AGO
  • J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free


  • The exhibition ran October 31, 2015 – January 31, 2016, and featured over 50 groundbreaking paintings and watercolours on loan from Tate Britain, from the final and most experimental 15 years of Turner’s career.
  • The AGO would be host to the only Canadian exhibit.


Strategic Objective

  • Development and promotion of the supporting story for the J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free exhibit, for internal and external expression, in order to gain higher brand recognition, drive attendance and increase ticket sales at the AGO.
  • Create a campaign to intrigue and inspire the primary target audience of culturally active adults 40+.


Vision: Strategy

  • Turner was driven in his later years to further innovate both in his subjects and means of expression, and to create images, from the tranquil to the violent, that both touch us with their visceral power.
  • Findings and implications from focus groups of culturally active adults and urban cosmopolitans revealed a strong fascination in the artist and his rebellious approach to his art.


Visual: Creative

  • A multi-media advertising campaign was developed, which began with an exploration of the wordmark, fonts and colour palettes derived from Turner’s own.
  • Working within the AGO’s brand guidelines, The Collective set out to showcase Turner’s paintings and intrigue the audience with a series of oxymoron headlines used to express the extreme dichotomy of Turner the man, his art, and the visceral response to his paintings.
  • Efforts were made to showcase Turner’s paintings in square format, as Turner was noted for his originality in being the first to create paintings on square canvases.


Voice: Media

INTENT Media developed a fully integrated and activated media strategy to drive awareness & ticket sales of AGO’s J.M.W. Turner Exhibit.
Key Drivers:

  1. High Frequency/action based media channels.
  2. Significant REACH against multiple demographic and psychographic profiles.
  3. Partnerships: Content, Editorial and Activation
  4. Performance/Accountability/Measurability
  5. Minimal Production, maximum allocation to working media.

INTENT engaged the media community to partner and co-create custom approaches that would leverage integration beyond sales and included:

  • Bell Media integrated program
  • Now Magazine and Globe & Mail print & digital partners
  • Outdoor featuring Clear Channel Digital
  • Digital, including display, programmatic and search

“The Collective is a collaborative, strategic creative firm that is process-oriented and works to help organizations gain deeper insights into the market and what’s required for breakthrough, including effective and efficient media innovation. They bring both support and expertise to bear that create brand understanding and honest partnership.”

Corinne Rusch-Drutz, PhD

Chief Development Officer at Art Gallery of Ontario

Measures of Success

  • Overall Media Value on Investment - 360%
  • CHUM FM AGO Friday Nights contest garnered the most entries in the first day of any contest of this size in recent history, with 444 entries received on the first morning.
  • J.M.W. Turner: Paintings Set Free Single-Ticket-Paid (STP) sales were 40,389, with total attendance of 137,405, over a 14 week showing, with peak traffic in the final week at 17,305.
  • STP sales by web came in at 22.9%, demonstrating effectiveness of digital strategy.
Art Gallery of Ontario - Print Ad