Can celebrities help museums get a share of the spotlight?

This week we found two interesting examples of celebrity endorsing museums. It appears that one was by design a planned PR generating opportunity whereas the other may have been a personal visit that ended up generating a lot of free press for the concerned museum.

According to Wikipedia Celebrity branding or celebrity endorsement is a form of advertising campaign or marketing strategy used by brandscompanies, or a non-profit organization which involves celebrities or a well-known person using their social status or their fame to help promote a product, service or even raise awareness on environmental or social matters. Marketers use celebrity endorsers in hopes that the positive images of the celebrity endorser of the brand will also be passed on to the products or the brand image associated with the celebrities.

Celebrity endorsement is usually commonly used by fashion or beauty brands,but a non-profit organization relies on celebrities as well, as celebrities have mass communication skills which can attract people’s attention and is helpful in reaching a wider audience to raise their awareness towards a certain organization or an issue,thus making celebrities effective fundraisers.

The first example that we chanced upon had Bollywood and Corporate India connection. Hindi film actress Rekha and Harsh Goenka, Chairman – RPG Enterprises were invited as special guests by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to the Raj Bhavan for dinner and to see the new Bunker Museum. Here is a small snippet of the Bunker Museum in a video of The Week.

World War I bunker found under governor's house in Mumbai becomes museum

In 2016, an underground bunker was discovered below the governor’s residence in Raj Bhavan, Mumbai.Believed to date back to before the First World War, it has now been converted into a museum.

Posted by The Week on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

According to Umesh Kashikar, spokesperson of the Raj Bhavan, “Rekha was taken on a conducted tour of the bunker and loved it”

Rekha at the Bunker Museum – Source TOI, Aug 27, 2019

Leveraging a celebrity like Rekha helps build the finesse and class of the place as that it what Brand Rekha represents. She is also someone not seen at too many events and this helps dial up the exclusive cues of the place.

On the other hand Harsh Goenka stands for business success and achievement and is a known patron of the art. His presence allows the museum brand to signal the place as one worthy of time and effort investment inspite of busy schedules.

The second example of a celeb in a museum involved Team India cricket coach Ravi Shastri at the #BobMarley Museum. It is interesting to note that there is no official press release or mention of Shastri’s visit on social media sites of the Bob Marley Museum. So this may well have been a personal visit for Coach Shastri and his staff team members.

Shastri’s own twitter handle shared both a photo of his visit as well as an interesting video with his own brand of commentary bringing alive the visit and his own love of reggae music.

It would be safe to assume that the 460.7 K followers on Shastri’s Twitter handle are primarily cricket lovers who may or may not be crazy about museums. But they are clearly interested in Shastri and everything he does and if this time they find him at the museum , they virtually via the photos and videos on Shastri’s timeline get a glimpse of the museum.

This is how having different influencers, celebrities also help us reach out to new audiences and segments of people whose primary love may not be museums.

The video posted by Shastri was soon picked up by many media outfits and posted on their websites. Thus this generated further eyeballs for the museum. If this is indeed a personal video of a personal visit of Shastri think of how much free publicity has the museum got!

Even if we assume for a moment that Shastri and team were ‘hosted’ by the museum the ripple effect of the video clearly shows us that power of 3rd party endorsement is much more effective than an advert by the concerned museum.

We will keep updating this article with examples as we find them.

30th September 2019 – Here is actress Sonam Kapoor at the National Museum of India in Delhi. She came to view the special exhibition “PRA-KASHI: Silk, Gold and Silver from the City of Light”


Have you seen any interesting examples of celebs at the museum? Share them with us here.

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