In 2022, the Royal Canadian Mint launched a new limited edition coin collection celebrating Alexander Graham Bell’s 175th birthday. While his accomplishments have been plentiful, his controversial views have made him somewhat of a polarizing figure. Primarily known for his invention of the telephone, his questionable character sometimes overshadows his contributions to Canada’s history.
In order to make this campaign a success, especially among the younger, more socially conscious audience RCM had set out to target, we had to find a way to cut through this shadow and bring his legacy to light for a new generation.
Research uncovered that Canadians want to cheer for and support their own. The more they know about a topic, the more likely they are to identify and more closely align them with the Canada they are proud of. Negative associations of Bell needed to be replaced with a positively painted picture, someone who they have pride in calling a fellow Canadian.
To elevate Bell to a figure they admire enough to want to purchase the part of his history the coin represents, we needed to find a way to re-introduce him and give the public a broader sense of who he was and why his impact is still relevant almost two centuries later.
For generations, museums have been a space where people have come to immerse themselves in knowledge, and where many of us have had our most memorable interactions with history. With COVID-related restrictions still in place, we needed to pivot to replicate the museum experience where it was accessible to all- easily and without the limits felt so heavily in our daily lives. This space so strongly associated with enriching experiences and education was the ideal stage to tell the story of Alexander Graham Bell’s rich accomplishments and showcase him as an important figure in Canadian innovation.
This is where our big idea was born: The Royal Canadian Mint’s Virtual Alexander Graham Bell Museum. The virtual museum dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell’s inventions and placing the coin at the center of the experience, was the anchor of our campaign. Through this space, we were able to offer an immersive, innovative, and educational experience, improving the perception of Alexander Graham Bell, the human being, making visitors more likely to support him and recognize his historical contributions. We used innovation as the springboard to shine a light on the innovator and make him relevant to our target audience.
Using a 3D version of the Alexander Graham Bell coin, visitors gained access to the virtual space, where they could walk through two augmented reality rooms showcasing 3D models of Bell’s most monumental achievements and providing additional knowledge on each, replicating the real-life museum experience. The coin remained the driving force for the experience throughout. Stationed at the center of the virtual rooms, participants were also encouraged to go and visit the Mint website to learn more about Bell's legacy as well as the new circulation coin and suite of collector products. CTA buttons were placed throughout the virtual museum, encouraging their learning journey. The fully immersive experience encouraged Canadians, young and old, to learn more about the limited-edition coin, focusing on innovation and Canadian history, which we had identified as the strengths of the narrative. It gave them a complete and comprehensive view of why he should be celebrated by Canadians and the weight and legacy attached to the coin. We used innovation as the springboard to shine a light on the innovator and make him relevant to our target audience.
Our campaign was supported by an efficient and carefully crafted media plan. We were present in spaces where we could reach younger audiences, enabling us to build the excitement needed to reach RCM’s goals. We optimized our media dollars by placing spots on CBC Radio Canada’s Gem, Tout.tv, and History/Historia, leveraging new impactful formats within this property that resonates with a target already interested in innovation and history as they were placed alongside shows dedicated to discovery and science. We also spoke to them through audio sponsorship aligning with top Canadian innovation storytelling to generate further reach in the podcast landscape through pre-roll and host mentions within history related content and within those with audience interest in tech, history and discovery, such as History Extra, Babbage by The Economist, Under the Influence, and Side note by AsapScience.
We also sought out younger audiences through our Pinterest “Taste Tuner” activation, a carousel of images, gave visitors the ability to swipe right, and learn more about Bell and be redirected to the museum, or swipe left to learn more about the campaign by being directed to the campaign landing page, appealing to both types of coin collectors, younger and older, offering two user experiences depending on the consumers interest. The campaign was rounded out with boosted posts about the museum on Facebook and Instagram, casting a wide net in the interest of getting a large audience to become aware and visit the museum.
The Alexander Graham Bell Museum received 29K museum views, with 35% of those visits leading to interactions, indicating that not only were we successful in bringing people in, but they were also moved to learn more about the topic at hand, aligning with our goal of providing Canadians with an educational, immersive experience. We were able to re-introduce Bell to thousands of people on our terms, using innovation to make his legacy shine. More than half of the visits were on mobile, proving that the accessibility from any device was another successful step in the future proofing of RCM. The media campaign that supported the museum also brought impressive results, being directly responsible for 89% of the museum’s visits.
However, the true success of this campaign goes well beyond numbers. By creating this space where education, innovation and history take on a life of their own, we have brought tremendous value to RCM’s business, setting the stage for endless possibilities within this realm. Now equipped with the tools and reputation as a dynamic source for information and storytelling when it comes to Canadian history, technology and science, RCM’s goals of reaching younger audiences will continue to be surpassed. The space we have carved out for them will allow them to reach the most receptive younger audiences, tapping into their curiosity to create a lasting relationship, which will only continue to appreciate with the richness they are able to provide audiences with through upcoming campaigns. Like a shiny new coin, the future has never been brighter.
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