Darwin: The Evolution of a Marketing Campaign

August 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm 3 comments

Charles Darwin evokes quite a response. From scientists who champion his decades of research as the cornerstone of modern biology, to those who feel his theory of evolution conflicts with personal and religious beliefs;  the reaction to Charles Darwin has become synonymous with controversy.

No doubt, the topic will generate public response when Fernbank Museum opens the new special exhibition Darwin on September 24, 2011. We want to reveal that there’s much more to the man behind the science than most realize. To illustrate this, we are launching an innovative marketing campaign: Charles Darwin Has A Posse.

Key to the campaign is artwork inspired by evolutionary biologist Colin Purrington, that mirrors the early 90s street art campaign Andre the Giant Has a Posse that later morphed into the OBEY campaign. To this day that campaign remains one of the most successful guerilla marketing campaigns of all time. Fernbank is putting its own twist on the artwork, adding bright colors and pairing visits from a colorful finch to his hat or a bright orchid to his lapel, breaking down a serious topic to show there’s something fascinating for everyone to explore in the exhibition.

Our intention is to present the life of Charles Darwin with a somewhat unexpected twist and the Charles Darwin has a Posse artwork reflects that break from the expected.  We want to inspire discussion and generate interest around science in a manner that feels approachable and fun yet also reveal there’s much to learn about Charles Darwin beyond the term “natural selection.”

For someone so famous, Charles Darwin remains a mystery to most. Fernbank seeks to inspire people to learn more about the path of a scientist, the fundamental role Darwin’s theory of evolution has in helping modern scientists cure diseases and make other advancements, and the joy of observation and discovery in the natural world. Part of the marketing strategy involves piquing the interest of people who may not realize they are soon to be fascinated by Charles Darwin—by reaching out to them in coffee houses, bars, through a partnership with Team Trivia and special trivia nights at the Museum. Darwin will also take to Twitter (@darwinposse) with facts, fiction and fun—certainly an evolution of communication he would have never imagined!

We hope to see you at the Museum soon and hope that the exhibition, and the artwork, stirs up conversation by sparking your curiosity and bringing out your “inner scientist.” And hopefully, to inspire all of us to have a greater appreciation for our planet and its people.

—Jules Dykes, Vice President of Marketing & Communications

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melissa  |  September 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I teach evolution in my 7th grade science class. My students learn all about Darwin and his travels and life. I can’t wait to see the exhibit!

  • 2. fernbankmuseum  |  September 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    That’s fantastic, Melissa! Thanks for letting us know.

  • 3. Evolution gets graphic in Atlanta - Colin Purrington  |  July 15, 2013 at 3:19 am

    […] Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta has borrowed a few of my images for their Fall 2011 Darwin Exhibit.  They plan to have “Darwin Has A Posse” banners on the sides of city buses, piles of […]


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At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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