Communicating the Art of MAR in Rio

Our partnership with the Roberto Marinho Foundation began in 2006, writes Beth Garcia, founder and managing director of Brazilian communications agency Approach. During this time we have worked closely with its team to promote the Foundation’s celebrated work across Brazil including helping to launch the Young Scientist Award, raise awareness of the restoration of historic buildings such as the church of Antiga Sé in downtown Rio and in 2008, we managed the communications for the inauguration of the Football Museum at Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo.

Since 2010, we have been working with the Foundation on its strategy and communication plan for the launch of MAR (Museum of Art of Rio). Our goal, from the beginning, has been to establish and enhance the image of Roberto Marinho Foundation as an educational institution responsible for designing a new line of museums in Rio de Janeiro using its previous experience from other projects in São Paulo such as the Museum of the Portuguese Language as well as the Football Museum.

As we know the importance of keeping all communications aligned, we understood the significance of ensuring that our strategies were shared and agreed with all key stakeholders involved in the project including the city of Rio de Janeiro, CDURP and Porto Novo and we maintained close contact at all stages of the project.

We need to expect the unexpected in all of our work and throughout this project we did experience many varying factors including a new curator, changes in the construction schedule and concept plus an increase in the budget that led to much press attention. We combated this press attention by providing our key contacts (within Culture, City and Economic editorial pages) with information regarding the importance of forming a municipal collection through donations and acquisitions, our quest to obtain a LEED certificate (seal of sustainability) and the educational significance of the museum to provide some clear answers for these changes as well as preview information about future exhibitions to whet their appetite.

To generate excitement pre-launch, we promoted ‘O Morro e O MAR’ which was a series of free tours led by expert guides in a neighbouring favela to the museum, Morro da Conceição pointing out various cultural points of interest within that community. This allowed us the opportunity to start talking about MAR before it had officially opened its doors and provided us with a news hook to gradually introduce the main purpose of MAR– to be a museum for Rio that is right for Rio and its inhabitants and has a dialogue with all communities surrounding the project.

When the Roberto Marinho Foundation and the city of Rio de Janeiro provided an official launch in early 2013 date highlighting the concept of MAR as a ‘museum with a school by its side’, we used this opportunity to tell the media about the importance of an academic and cultural scene in the city, together with the activities of the programme ‘MAR Academy’ showing how it can benefit the community.

As soon as the launch date was determined as 1s March 2013, strategically coinciding with the 448th anniversary of Rio de Janeiro, we began to feed mainstream press with facts and figures about MAR and held meetings between the editors of the principal media titles within Rio and São Paulo (Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo, O Estado de S. Paulo, Veja, Valor Econômico, Veja, Época e Veja Rio among others) with the CEO of Roberto Marinho Foundation and MAR’s curator.

Furthermore, we managed to negotiate the best date and space for publication in order to avoid the news about MAR being closely positioned to controversial statements that would conflict with the positive image of the foundation. We also organised a press conference that was attended by more than 50 international media titles to drive awareness on a global scale.

For the opening event that was attended by Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, we produced a VIP guest list with the names of leading journalists and opinion makers within Rio and São Paulo. In tandem with the company Planalto, we accredited approxmiately20 press titles to cover the event following the departure of the president. Post-event, we provided magazines and newspapers with information and images as well as detailed report regarding visitor numbers for the first day, week and month of operation after it was opened to the public.

In just one month (from 24 February to 30 March 2013), we generated the advertising equivalent of $26m in media coverage, national and international press, with 119 pieces appearing in print media (newspapers and magazines), 61 articles on TV, 27 on radio and over 100 pieces of online coverage.

The successful launch and coverage of MAR also led to renewed media interest in two other museums designed by Roberto Marinho Foundation which are currently under construction in Rio: the Museum of Image and Sound in Copacabana and the Museum of Tomorrow at Pier Maua – close to MAR. This cemented the fact that we also achieved our main goal of strengthening the expertise and credibility of the Roberto Marinho Foundation by showcasing its other museums and conveying that they provide an enjoyable visitor experience, without losing their educational character.

If you would like to hear more about Approach’s work or find out how the agency can support you in Brazil, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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