Grabbing Attention: King Tut and Modern Marketing

By Ambardar, Rekha | The World and I, September 2010 | Go to article overview

Grabbing Attention: King Tut and Modern Marketing


Ambardar, Rekha, The World and I


The Use of Integrated Marketing Communications in the King Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Exhibit

"You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You've got to say it in a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don't feel it, nothing will happen."--William Bernbach (1911-1982) co-founder of Dane, Doyle, Bernbach (DDB) Ad Agency (1)

Advertising is something one associates with for-profit firms, not non-profit organizations such as museums displaying world-famous antiquities, but in fact, these organizations need marketing communications just as much as for-profit companies do.

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) is a coordinated, synergistic effort using all aspects of advertising and promotion to convey a single, unified message. (2)

A for-profit organization would achieve this through every message it dispenses via advertising, sales promotions, news releases, its employees and sales personnel. A similar effort characterizes the promotional strategies of non- profit organizations such as museums that hosted the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Exhibit as they geared up for a multi-city tour. (3)

A firm's promotional message must build brand image(equity), and fit into the consumer's lifestyle. Today's consumers everywhere value their time; the challenge for firms and organizations is to demonstrate how their offering will improve quality of life. One of the ways in which they achieve this is to use integrated marketing communications, or a unified message in every aspect of contact with the consumer. (4)

So how does a non-profit entity such as the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Exhibit use integrated marketing communications (IMC) to best accomplish getting the word out about King Tutankhamun and the age of the pharaohs to consumers who don't know or don't care about ancient Egyptian history?

AIDA Concept

The AIDA concept depicts the attention, interest, desire, and action process that the consumer goes through before making a purchase decision.

In a basic communication model, the sender acts as the source of the communication system as he or she seeks to convey a message (a communication of information, advice, or a request) to a receiver.(5)

An effective message accomplishes three tasks:

1. It gains the receiver's attention.

2. It achieves understanding by both receive and sender.

3. It stimulates the receiver's needs and suggests and appropriate method of satisfying them.

These three tasks are related to the AIDA concept, the steps the consumers take in reaching a purchase decision. (6)

An organization's promotional message must create brand awareness, and at the same time, deliver a "call to action." Applying AIDA, documentaries and journals initiate an interest in the lives of ancient Egyptians, insight into human behavior and eternal truths that refuse to fade with time.

The Exhibits, shown at several cities in the U.S., covered a period of five years, from 2005-2010, and was organized by National Geographic, Arts and Exhibitions International, and AEG International, with the cooperation of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. The Exhibit brought ancient Egypt to twenty-first century America, and drew over four million visitors to date. (7)

King Tutankhamun and the 18th Dynasty

The 18th Dynasty, to which King Tutankhamun and his father, Akhenaton belonged, was considered the golden age of the pharaohs. (8)

By way of background, Howard Carter's discovery in the Valley of the Kings--the intact royal burial of Tutankhamun--ranks among the greatest archaeological finds of all time. His tomb was largely undisturbed when Carter cut through the door seals in 1922, and it contained a treasure-house of amulets, jewelry, food, clothing, unguents (ointment), furniture, and even a model boat, all now stored in the Cairo Museum. …

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Grabbing Attention: King Tut and Modern Marketing
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