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Client: Penn Museum


What happens when a 133-year old institution, renowned for groundbreaking research and stellar international collections, decides to literally dust itself off?

To say that the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology—or the Penn Museum for short―has a rich history, would be quite the understatement. With over 1 million objects under its care, the museum boasts one of the most important collections of its kind in the world―rivaled only by the British Museum in London.

The tombs of 5,000-year old Egyptian mummies. A royal crown from Ur―mankind’s first civilization. The largest Sphinx in the Western Hemisphere. These are discoveries that have helped further our collective understanding of language, society, and culture. And they’re all right here under one roof in Philadelphia. The challenge – to generate awareness of this magnificent collection among a broader, global audience.

With a monumental building transformation plan fully underway―including new galleries of Africa, Mexico & Central America, and a new main entrance Hall launching in the fall of 2019―the museum needed help introducing itself to the community. Team Brian got right to work positioning the Penn Museum’s historic reopening as one of the biggest cultural events of Philadelphia.


To kick things off, the museum’s unofficial mascot―the 12.5-ton sphinx of Ramses II―needed to make his way to a new home. For the first time in over 90 years, the red granite giant would move from his previous display hall on the museum’s lower level to a new, posh presentation―front and center in the museum’s completely re-envisioned Main Entrance Hall. But moving our newest greeter would be no simple task. It would take months of planning, coordination by dozens of workers, and yes, even a ‘hovercraft’ or two.


To bring attention to this once-in-a-lifetime undertaking, Team Brian worked with the Penn Museum to invite the Philadelphia community to see if they had what it takes to #MoveTheSphinx. During the days leading up to the official move, we welcomed passersby in Dilworth Park to test their strength by attempting to move a 500 lb. replica model of the ancient artifact. The activation was featured on local media and promoted by social influencers, highlighting the magnitude of the sphinx’s coming journey.


The official “moving day” was further leveraged by a comprehensive public relations campaign that told the multi-faceted story of the move, the complex engineering and the people behind it, in order to drive awareness to the Penn Museum and its upcoming renovations. Through a series of unique pitch angles across multiple verticals, the Sphinx of Ramses II generated robust local, national, and international coverage across broadcast, online, and print.


72 Unique

Media Placements

42 Million

Media Impressions


Reach on Social Media


For us, it started with an idea. Artifacts are fascinating, it’s true―but how could we further illustrate and bring meaning to what they represent, not just what they look like? To do so, our team concepted creative that showed not only the type of experience you can have while visiting the new Penn Museum, but also the sense of wonder, excitement and adventure that visitors can feel while walking our halls. By showing our audience members within the campaign for the first time in the history of the museum, our creative worked hard to drive awareness, emotionally connect, and ultimately shift misperceptions. This was truly a new Penn Museum―Bigger. Brighter. Completely Reimagined.

Take a look at how we brought the new Penn Museum to life.

We started by clearing a few things up, bringing in a complimentary tagline to hug in our new logo lock-up. After all, the Penn Museum is and always has been “America’s Museum of Ancient Worlds”.

And then it was time to tease the big day. To let people know that something big was happening, and something huge would soon be unveiled…

Next, we launched our fully 360⁰ campaign, consisting of robust paid and earned media efforts.

Through a robust public relations campaign and reopening events, we told the multi-faceted story of the museum’s transformation, it’s dramatic new galleries and its unique ability to foster greater understanding of our shared humanity. Utilizing a variety of pitch angles, across local and national broadcast, online and print media, we worked in partnership with the Penn Museum team to secure feature stories in outlets such as Al Dia, The New York Times, NPR, Philadelphia Magazine and more.


48.7 Million

media impressions

66 Unique

media placements

110% increase

in attendance in December 2019