Leo Burnett's Van Gogh AirBnB

Jonathan Mildenhall

Jonathan Mildenhall

The winner of the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix for 2017 is ‘Van Gogh’s Bedrooms. Let Yourself In’, a campaign for the Art Institute of Chicago, created by Leo Burnett Chicago.

An ingenious campaign created on a modest budget, it involved building a real world replica of Van Gogh’s iconic bedroom painting and then allowing people to rent it for the night on Airbnb. The purpose was to alert people to the fact that the painting in question was part of a temporary exhibition showing at the Art Institute. “This was one exhibition in one building in one city,” said Jury president Jonathan Mildenhall, chief marketing officer of Airbnb, “but it sparked a huge global conversation. It attracted 133,000 incremental visitors, generated increased revenues and introduced a younger demographic to the Institute.”

More generally, Mildenhall said “we were looking for impact on the audience, impact on business and impact on culture”. In terms of Golds, he said “fortune favoured the brave” but budget was not necessarily a determinant of success. He said there were several examples of “huge, authentic, truly global” campaigns conceived and executed on reasonable budgets.

In terms of campaigns that ran the winner close, he referenced Burger King’s ‘McWhopper’ and the Swedish Tourist Association’s ‘The Swedish Number’. Both won Golds. There was also Gold for David Buenos Aires’ ‘Manboobs’ and two campaigns from India, BBDO India’s ‘Share The Load’ for P&G India and Leo Burnett Mumbai’s ‘The Nation’s Bike’ for Bajaj Auto.

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Harriet Palmer