Helping Locals Discover the Arts and Culture in Los Angeles

Strategy: Collaborate in New Ways, Emphasize Value, Serve Local Community, Take Advantage of Tech

Type of attraction: Arts Organization, Museum/Historic Site, Tourism Organization

Summary: LA INC. is helping Angelenos discover the arts and culture in their own backyard.

LA INC. is helping Angelenos discover the arts and culture in their own backyard.  Michael McDowell, senior director of Cultural Tourism for LA INC., The Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Bureau, notes “Fully half of our 26 million annual visitors get their information about why to come to LA, when to come to LA and what to see and do when they’re here from friends and family who call LA home.  So we created the Discover the Arts in LA cultural promotion campaign to encourage Angelenos to discover all the one-of-a-kind cultural offerings the region has to offer.

“2010 is the second year that we offered the ‘Discover the Arts in Los Angeles’ campaign, and we’ve seen a 2000% increase in participation this year over last year,” he says.  In 2010, more than 63,000 special offers for admission and discounts from LA’s leading cultural organizations were downloaded from from January through April. 

Offers ranged from buy-one-get-one-free admission, discounts at museum gift shops, and up to 50 percent off admission to museums and performing arts events.

To reach out to city residents, LA Inc. teamed up with title sponsor Wells Fargo, the City of LA Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), Clear Channel radio stations and more than 30 cultural institutions, among others, to launch a three-month effort to encourage residents and visitors to visit museums and attend performances—especially museums or venues they’ve never been to before. 

The multi-platform promotion included on-air, on-line, social networking, digital and print publicity and advertising components.  Wells Fargo’s 400 neighborhood branch banks throughout Los Angeles County displayed a “splash-page” on their ATM screens to encourage customers and visitors to take advantage of the promotion. 

LA INC. also secured hundreds of complimentary tickets to museums and performing arts events to use as  barter with media outlets for audience ticket giveaways to secure free airtime and outdoor advertising exposure:  Clear Channel aired “Discover the Arts” promotions on its eight commercial radio stations to its combined audience of 8 million listeners.  LA INC. also partnered with JCDecaux and CBS Outdoor to install hundreds of advertisements at the Los Angeles International Airport as well as digital billboards and bus wraps throughout LA to drive traffic to the “Discover the Arts” landing pages. 

In addition, LA INC. staff members appeared on morning news programs in the San Francisco and Phoenix markets; news and calendar items were published in regional print and online media and LA INC.’s consumer and trade newsletters and Facebook and other social networking postings were employed to reach millions of households in the short fly/drive visitor market. 

During February, Gelson’s 18 supermarkets in the greater Los Angeles region promoted the “Discover the Arts” program to their 4.8 million weekly customers through in-store signage, bag-stuffers, messages at the bottom of every register receipt, and an online contest to win annual memberships at some of LA’s leading museums such as the Autry, Huntington, the Museum of Contemporary Art and others. 

KLTA-TV (Channel 5) aired one-to-three minute PSAs in April during its popular morning news program featuring live “Discover the Arts” broadcasts.  A KLTA reporter presented as many as five on-location broadcasts highlighting the offerings of nearly 20 LA museums in the “Discover the Arts” promotion.  Together, these spots reached an estimated audience of 6.2 million viewers. 

The 2010 “Discover the Arts” promotion resulted in more than 80 million print, digital, broadcast and on-line media impressions during its three month run—most generated through barter arrangements, with little or no money actually changing hands.  Special offer coupon redemption rates at individual institutions ranged from single digits to more than 53 percent, with most organizations averaging a redemption rate approaching 10 percent (more than double the typical coupon redemption rate of 4 percent).

McDowell observes “the outreach that we have had through the customers and networks of our partners were a key to the success of this campaign.  We’re looking forward to continuing ‘Discover the Arts and LA’ in 2011.”