Challenge, context & objectives
The Art Fund was founded in 1903 by a small group of artists motivated by the UK government's inadequate museum funding. Its purpose has remained unchanged ever since: to help the UK's museums and art galleries to buy and display important works of art for the nation to enjoy. Work that would otherwise be lost overseas or to private collections and therefore never be seen by the general public.
Following a sharp decline in giving in the early 20th century - and coinciding with another government squeeze on museum funding as part of the UK's austerity programme - the benefits of Art Fund membership (free and discounted entry into hundreds of museums, galleries and historic houses) were repackaged in 2011 as a physical product: the 'National Art Pass'.
This boldly reimagined the charity as a retailer with a desirable product (365 days of arts access!)…and completely changed the role for marketing. Rather than using advertising to 'rattle the tin', advertising would now be used to drive sales of the National Art Pass. 'Seeing art' rather than 'saving' it was the new consumer proposition but the end outcome was unchanged: more funds with which to acquire works of art for the UK's museums and galleries.