Intel's Museum of Me Turns an Asian Trend into a Global Passion

IntelSimultaneously creepy and cool, Intel’s Museum of Me is the Facebook app that showed you how much you actually shared with the general public, but presented it in such a way that you couldn’t help but think you were special.

The Facebook application, which spread across the world virally during the summer of 2011, was born in Asia, the brainchild of Intel’s Hong Kong marketing team and Projector, a boutique agency in Japan. The brief was to create an execution that brought the company’s tagline for its second-generation Core processors, “Visually Smart,” to life in an emotional way.

“More and more of what we do with our computers is about the visuals, whether that is creating a home movie, watching a Hollywood blockbuster or editing our own family photographs,” says Paul McKeon, Asia Pacific regional public relations manager at Intel. “These days we are all content creators, and much of that content is intended for social sites like Facebook. So the Museum of Me arose out of a desire to allow people to showcase that very personal content in a new and engaging way.”

The Museum of Me pulls the public information from Facebook pages to create a virtual museum of digital lives. After compiling the information, the program guides the user through various galleries (backed by a soundtrack featuring 400 different voices), artfully (and randomly) showcasing photos, videos, friends and status updates. In the final room, robots assemble hundreds of your photos into a mosaic of your profile picture.

The team knew they had a hit within days of its launch. Within five minutes, Intel’s Museum of Me had 36 “likes,” and within 48 hours, 2 million people had visited the site. By the end of 2011: 5 million page views and 800,000 Facebook likes. What’s more, the program caught fire around the world. Days after its launch, people in New York, Madrid and Brazil began posting links on their own profiles. The site also gained the attention of the technorati, winning praise from places such as Mashable, CNET and The Wall Street Journal Europe’s tech blog. In December, the app was named “Site of the Year” by London’s Favourite Website Awards.

All the attention caught the company a bit off guard. Though the Museum of Me was designed to appeal across a broad range of cultures in the Asia Pacific region, Intel executives were shocked by how quickly it caught on across the globe, while at the same time understanding its appeal.

“It’s fair to say we were pleasantly surprised by the degree in which it was appreciated,” McKeon says. “When it’s all said and done, the central appeal of the Museum of Me is about reliving memories of the people and events we care about — and that’s pretty universal.”

Beyond the universality, the company learned the adage “Keep it simple” applies as much, if not more, to Web marketing programs as anything else — as does fortuitous timing. “In the lead up [to] the launch, we found ourselves asking ‘What can we cut?’ more often than ‘What can we add?’” McKeon says. “The Museum of Me arrived at a time when many people in the industry were talking about how to make use of all of that content people have been putting into social sites like Facebook. But no one had really succeeded in doing it in a way that captured people’s imagination. We like to think those which have followed were to some extent inspired by The Museum of Me.”