ROM giving away 450 million year-old membership cards

Who: The Royal Ontario Museum, with Broken Heart Love Affair for strategy and creative; Sparks for production; Lifelong Crush for editing, Divisn Post for colour, Pirate for audio and OMD for media.

What: “ROM Immortal Membership,” a contest with a social-led campaign for a museum membership card that is 450 million years old.

When & Where: The contest launched late last year and runs until the end of March, it’s being promoted through social and digital ads.

Why: The ROM launched its “Immortal” brand platform last spring. It was inspired by the idea that the museum is not simply home to artifacts and antiquities, but is an institution that tells the story of humanity—a place that helps us understand where we are today by making sense of what we were in the past. The campaign launched with an award-winning six-minute film and used the tagline “We live on in what we leave behind.”

“The Immortal Membership” is a way to extend that platform to existing members and attract new ones, while reemphasizing that the ROM is about connections across generations.

“What we love about this extension of the ROM Immortal campaign, is that it leverages the strong insight that ROM fosters intergenerational experiences,” said Lori Davison, the ROM’s chief marketing and communications officer, in a release. “That is something quite unique to museums and a hugely important dimension of our brand and focus of our marketing efforts.”

How: The campaign is built around five special memberships made with actual 450-million year old fossils—trilobite fossils, an extinct group of marine invertebrates related to insects, scorpions, shrimp, and lobsters, to be specific. The memberships and very old membership cards can be passed on to someone else when the original member passes on.

Any current member is eligible to win one of the memberships, while any new member will also go into the draw to win the lifelong membership and card. Each winner will receive the card in a wooden crate befitting the “rare and immortal object” inside, with a welcome package about the fossil and a “will’ to bequeath the membership on to someone else.

Digital banners and social videos include an unboxing video, as well as ads showing an older hand passing the card onto a younger hand.

And we quote: “We were driven by the notion that a ROM membership should feel like the weighty thing it is—an enduring portal to stories that illuminate our existence.” — Shannon McCarroll, senior copywriter, Broken Heart Love Affair

David Brown