Canadian Museum of Nature unleashes dinosaurs in Ottawa

Inflatable mascots promote travelling exhibit running this summer

Dinosaurs have invaded Ottawa and none of them are politicians.

Ten roving Tyrannosaurus Rexes swept through Ottawa landmarks last week as part of a street marketing campaign to promote the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit. The travelling exhibit, which runs from June 11 to Sept. 5 at the Ottawa museum, features 16 casts of dinosaur skeletons from the southern hemisphere.

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The inflatable dinosaur mascots crashed Wednesday yoga on Parliament Hill, chomped through the Sparks Street mall, Byward Market and Château Laurier areas and took a double-decker bus ride and a boat ride on the Rideau Canal, among other events. Along the way, the dinosaurs handed out flyers with discount coupons to the exhibit.

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Orkestra, the Gatineau, Que.-based agency that created the campaign, estimates it accumulated almost 3 million media hits in less than 48 hours on social media networks.

The experiential marketing campaign also garnered extensive coverage in traditional media, ranging from CBC and Radio-Canada to The Ottawa Citizen.

“We were hoping to get a lot of attention but it went beyond our hopes,” says Caroline Hudon, account director at Orkestra. “It’s a big achievement for us.”

It’s the first project Orkestra has done for the museum and the stunts had more impact on social media than any campaign the agency has done, she says.

The museum was looking for an innovative experimental marketing concept to attract a large audience to the exhibit, says John Swettenham, director of marketing and media relations at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The idea was to keep the operation as simple as possible, while attracting attention from the public and media, adds Alex Van Dieren, executive director at Orkestra.

The experiential marketing events were captured for a video that will be released in two weeks on the theme dinosaurs have arrived in Ottawa.

Other events are planned for July but have not been finalized. Says Hudon: “People want to know ‘where are you going to be next?’”


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