Art Institute of Chicago: The Red Cube Project

Category: Culture and the Arts
Brand/Client: Art Institute of Chicago
Primary Agency: Energy BBDO
Contributing Agency: Proximity Chicago


The Art Institute of Chicago has long been considered one of the world's premier cultural institutions. The opening of the Modern Wing in May 2009 generated a fresh round of international acclaim for the museum.

Unfortunately, among people in its hometown, the Art Institute had become an invisible icon. Chicagoans were taking for granted some of the most powerful art collections right here in their own city.

The challenge was clear: help the Art Institute regain its visibility and its relevance in Chicagoan's lives.

And what a challenge it was.

The rate of attendance growth over the prior year had dropped by 60%. The advertising budget had been slashed by 60% versus the prior year (source: The Art Institute of Chicago). The crucial holiday period lay ahead. In Chicago, competition isn't just other well-funded cultural institutions, but also sporting events, theater, parks, street festivals, and a beautiful, bustling lakefront.