Thanks to an invitation from good friends to share in their Tasmanian wedding, I had the amazing pleasure of visiting Hobart over the weekend to spend time at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art. Yet to even reach its 4th birthday, this irreverent private gallery burst into existence at the dawn of 2011, the child of the Tasmanian millionaire David Walsh. In his own words, he described MONA as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland’ (Young, 2011), and having experienced it for myself I can attest to its ability to both delight and disturb in equal measure.
|MONA sits like a fort on the headland, protecting its secrets within|
The art and architecture have created a unique destination for Hobart, but that’s been well documented. What I wanted to explore was a more intimate experience with the brand, reinforcing the brand experience with how it expressed itself in simple words.
|The cavernous labyrinthe playground at the heart of MONA|
Using this tone of voice also worked to create a unique position in the art world, one many older institutions would find hard to attack, through its choice of words. The opening description at MONA captures this tone nicely, and sets up the execution throughout all touch points of written marketing communications; ‘Looking at art used to be boring. It still is, maybe, but at least here at MONA you can get drunk and/or rage against the machine’.
|The O gallery tour app at MONA consistently employs the brands tone of voice |
Other examples include The O, MONA’s art tour app provided to all guests upon arrival. Where most galleries would present the curators commentary, MONA referred to theirs as ‘Art Wank’, irreverently illustrated with a stylized male phallus. Locals, who are provided free entry to the gallery, were told ‘If you are Tasmanian, and identify yourself as such (yes, yes, second head, etc etc), you get in for free’. The VIP lounge on the high-speed ferry is called the Posh Pit, available ‘for a mere fifty bucks’ which is ‘posh as’. Even the branded festivals hit the mark, with the upcoming MOFO sticking it to the system.
|The MONA festival MOFO plays up the irreverence|
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School