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From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards


Entered in Multi-Platform Campaign

About this entry

At the end of April, 2014, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History closed its most popular exhibition, The Dinosaur Hall, to make way for a 5 year renovation that will completely makeover the space and create the biggest baddest Fossil Hall of all time.

This will be the most significant renovation in the museum's history and its crown jewel will be our very first real fossil T. rex. The #NationsTrex arrived at the Museum on April 15th, and to celebrate its arrival, the Museum launched its most ambitious and creative social media campaign to date. Starting with an April Fool's Prank on national television, the T. rex began a journey that took over the Museum's owned and shared platforms for the entire month, spanned DC, and even included a run for the Presidency from within the White House.

The result of this epic adventure was a huge increase in following on all @NMNH platforms, and a rate of engagement unlike anything we'd ever seen. This carefully crafted campaign allowed us to balance entertainment and education, both delighting our followers and informing them about important Museum updates and fascinating Paleontological developments. Even more importantly, it forged a path at the Smithsonian, teaching us that it's not only ok to have a little fun with our content, it's encouraged by our audience and ultimately a productive engagement tool!

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The #NationsTrex campaign had to be creative, because there weren't many resources available to support it. The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History was poised to receive their very first fossil T. rex and close their most popular Dinosaur Hall, and there were only two social media staffers to task with informing the internet, with a budget of $0. Resourcefulness and relationships became key to developing innovative strategies and tactics that would result in a month-long maelstrom of T. rex envy, online. Over the course of April, the campaign garnered a jaw-dropping 77M impressions on Twitter alone, a record for the Smithsonian. We increased our following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by more than 1,000 followers more than the previous months. We trended twice. The response we experienced was proof that our audiences want to be surprised by us. They want to engage with us in unexpected ways, and they want to have fun while they are learning. This has since set a precedent at the Smithsonian that enjoyment and education do not have to be mutually exclusive.

The mission of the campaign targeted 3 goals:

We developed four discreet strategies supported by a variety of inventive tactics to accomplish these goals, some highlights of which include:

Ultimately, our quantitative and qualitative metrics demonstrate that we underestimated the power of a Jurassic ambassador. The #NationsTrex campaign succeeded beyond our wildest dreams at both exciting and educating the public and we think if not a Shorty, it at least deserves a Short-Armed Award for its achievements.


Video for #NationsTrex

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Kelly Carnes, Hilary-Morgan Watt - Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History


Entry Credits