Brands To Back Smithsonian Museum Day


Toyota, Microsoft and Citgo are sponsoring Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, an annual event that gets museums and cultural centers around the country to offer for a day what the Smithsonian Institution does all the time: free admission. The organization says more than 1,300 museums are participating in the Sept. 25 event, and that last year over 300,000 people took advantage and two million people went to to get info. 

Toyota -- which is presenting sponsor, supporting the Avalon -- will provide docent tours, interactive trivia contests and giveaways at the Dallas Museum of Art; the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Ill.; The Autry National Center in L.A.; Tower Hill Botanic Garden Boylston, Mass. and the Tampa Museum of Art.

Toyota's involvement includes broadcast, print and online experiences: In Smithsonian Magazine and online, Toyota will present something called "Featured Five," a listing about each of the venues. Toyota will also donate $1 -- up to $10,000 -- to museum programming nationwide for each online consumer query about its Avalon full-sized sedan.



Microsoft's participation in-book presence touts the company's "Make Education Great" corporate campaign. Microsoft will give away tip cards at the museums on how to 'Make Your Museum Visit Great." The cards also encourage ticketholders to use Microsoft Office products and direct visitors to the "Make Education Great" hub to enter to win $25,000 to help schools in their areas. Microsoft's logo will be present on all Museum Day promotional materials, the sponsor page and the Museum Day Ticket.

The Smithsonian Web site also has links to sponsors' sites.

Rosie Walker, associate publisher, marketing and sales development at Smithsonian Media, tells Marketing Daily that this is the first time for Toyota as a sponsor of the program, now in its sixth year. She says Hyundai was involved in 2008. The organization is expecting a 50% increase this year. "Participation was up 40% last year and the year before that as well," says Walker.

Toyota helped choose the five museums at which it will have a major presence, including vehicle displays, because they are in key markets for the automaker and their cultural diversity ranges from science to art. "They also hit Avalon's key demographics," says Walker.

The Adler Museum will actually haul out a solar telescope it usually doesn't move outside and set it up next to the Avalon. The automaker's advertorial in Smithsonian Magazine will be complemented by online branding at and TV spots on the Smithsonian channel.

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