Australian Museum


Re–launching a 193-year-old icon: The Australian Museum.

Founded in 1827, the Australian Museum (AM) is the nation’s first museum. A custodian of over 21.9 million objects and specimens, the AM is uniquely positioned to provide a greater understanding of the region through its scientific research, exhibitions, and public and education programs.

SomeOne, together with VCCP, were engaged to relaunch the museum and to shift their approach from exhibition focussed comms of the past towards a flexible integrated brand-led campaign platform that can carry across every subject the museum touches. From dinosaurs to climate change to First Nations culture.

It’s bright new look and inquisitive messaging structure aims to re-open the eyes of locals and tourists alike.

A new space for an old face

The campaign marks the reopening of the museum, which closed its doors to the public in 2019 to embark on Project Discover, an exciting $50.5m re-development including completely re-furbished exhibition spaces, educational facilities, a new museum shop and café.

As well as encouraging Sydneysiders to re-engage with the museum after over 12 months of closure, the campaign is the first to adopt a new brand positioning and creative platform, developed collaboratively by the Australian Museum, SomeOne and VCCP.

A new mission

The museum is well-regarded as the undisputed home of dinosaurs in Australia — but this is only a fraction of their offering. The new campaign sets out to shine a light on the breadth of science, history and culture to be found inside the museum’s walls.

The home of facts and truth–telling
The museum’s new strategic position is brought to life through a plethora of ‘Why’ questions — a way to evoke wonder, joy, emotion and put the audience at the centre of the comms. We all have burning questions about the world, the AM sets out to answer them.

The museum’s new focus champions three key areas:

Unexpected Nature
Climate Change
First Nations Culture

Spanning these key areas meant the challenge wasn’t to simply revitalise the museum, but rather to accurately and effectively tap into these areas with a deserved layer of conviction and intent — particularly for more hard-hitting subjects. This is what led to the ‘Why?’ messaging platform.

Why? — it’s the simplest question to ask, yet the most eye-opening to answer. Whether you’re an over-inquisitive five-year-old or a research scientist looking to uncover new information for your life’s work, ‘Why?’ is the question we ask when we want answers. It can just as easily be whimsical as it can drill down into hard, and sometimes uncomfortable, truths.

Tom DabnerCreative Director, SomeOne

Modular by nature, the new creative look & feel can easily be adapted for new topics and ‘Why’ questions. Each execution follows a clear system that puts a single subject front and centre, framed by an intriguing question and call to action that alludes to the answer, without giving too much away.

Already having a set of assets in their library — patterns, typefaces, colours — we focussed on how we could re-frame them rather than change them (if it ain’t broke…). The new approach is single minded — a sharp question paired with high-definition cut-out imagery that instantly lands the topic. Colours are then chosen to compliment the imagery. We’ve stripped back unnecessary elements to leave striking, dramatic, bright creative results.

Julien BertouilleLead Designer, SomeOne

Working with the talented team at Never Sit Still we’ve produced the museum’s first purely brand-led film. Applying the same modular approach; different ‘Why’ questions easily slot in to give fast-paced glimpses into a variety of things to be learned by visiting the museum!

View the film with sound here.

The campaign aims to give the museum plenty to talk about for the next few years. It’s a platform designed to grow over time, with new questions continually introduced and deployed across owned and paid channels in print, digital, social and TV. You’ll also see it influencing the new space across internal and external signage too!

Rosie BrennanManaging Partner, SomeOne

Why not come & meet the family?

The first major exhibition to take on the new look & language — Tyrannosaurs: Meet The Family — sees a long line of ‘Tyrannosaur’ family members immortalised in ornate picture frames, bursting out into the real world. Did you know T. rex wasn’t the only Tyrannosaur in the family?

Working with ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ director Matt Drummond, we brought each Tyrannosaur back from extinction through CGI animation, paying particular attention to how they might have moved and sounded all those millions of years ago. Every detail was considered from their colouring and skin treatment, whether they roared or squawked to the environments they appear in. Watch the film with sound here.

3X Visitor numbers
Visitor numbers have surpassed expectations by three-fold since reopening.

Our new campaign designed to reflect what many people experience at the AM; wonder, excitement and unexpected discoveries. SomeOne and VCCP not only understood our vision but truly elevated it, and we’re excited to share it with the local, regional and international visitors.

Jacinta SpurrettDirector of Marketing, Communications and Partnerships, Australian Museum

The doors opened on November 28th. So get yourself in there over the holidays and ask ‘Why?’ at the Australian Museum. Also — for the first time — it’s free to get in. Why wait?!