300 years ago Whitehall was home to the largest palace in Europe. Before being destroyed by fire in 1698, the vast Palace of Whitehall boasted 1,500 rooms and witnessed some of the great milestones of British history.
Historic Royal Palace’s new exhibition ‘The Lost Palace’ will allow visitors to explore this history using pioneering digital technology to create a more immersive visitor experience. Selected earlier this year as an exhibition that will ‘make a difference in 2016’ by Museums & Heritage Advisor, the project uses a device in the shape of a wooden torch to guide visitors along the modern day streets of Whitehall. The stories of the lost palace will unfold, from the opening night of Shakespeare’s King Lear, to the execution of Charles I. The Lost Palace is a new way to experience history.
For HRP, this exhibition is a significant shift away from the traditional Banqueting House visitor experience that focuses on the famous Rubens ceiling. For the Lost Palace, the target visitor profile is broad; both domestic and international, families as well as adults. With its mix of new technologies and theatre, its also aimed at those looking for unusual and novel experiences.
The exhibition’s objectives are “to tell the incredible stories of Whitehall Palace’s colourful history where they happened; to improve the visitor experience at Banqueting House; to increase visitor numbers by creating a new and unique visitor offer that appeals to new and existing audiences alike; and to illuminate the link between today’s political ‘corridors of power’ and the site’s past royal power.”
Tim Powell, The Lost Palace Project Manager
With the above objectives in mind, we were briefed to create The Lost Palace’s advertising campaign. The media plan includes outdoor, digital and press. The creative uses an arresting image of the exhibition’s largest archway engulfed in flames and clouds of smoke. The hands represent the sensory nature of the exhibition.
As the exhibition’s Project Manager Tim Powell pointed out, “The wow should come from how the technology brings the storytelling alive, not through the flashiness of the gadgets”. So rather than using technology to create “press the button” type moments, the tech here puts the visitor in control of the experience. It was this sentiment that was developed into the main image and the copy line that is used in the advertising, ‘history is in your hands’. The technology immerses the visitor deeper into the stories and characters they discover.
The campaign goes live this week on the London Underground with press and digital campaigns following next week.