San Diego Natural
History Museum

Building brand, attendance and member growth.


Our efforts for the San Diego Natural History Museum, a client since 2004, have been primarily focused on helping build museum attendance and driving member growth through advertising and marketing strategy support. Available budget is focused annually to support programs, exhibitions and events in order to drive admissions and revenue. Advertising has focused on building awareness and inciting curiosity in support of both major traveling exhibitions and internally developed permanent exhibits, a broad range of collections including many that are rarely seen by the public, and special events. In addition, we’ve provided counsel on marketing strategy and structure that has framed advertising efforts.


Advertising efforts against primary exhibit openings include a combination of traditional broadcast, print and out of home media coupled with programmatic digital. These platforms are in turn integrated with social media managed by the museum or other partners.

As a nonprofit organization, the museum’s typical annual advertising budget is constrained. A cornerstone of our efforts on their behalf has been our aggressive approach to working with our media partners to leverage the paid portion of museum advertising to achieve significant no-charge message weight owing to the museum’s nonprofit status. We have mirrored this tactic successfully for our other nonprofit clients as well.


Over the course of our longstanding partnership with the museum, we’ve successfully increased attendance and revenues for nearly 100 exhibits and programs both large and small. Among the more dramatic success stories, for their Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, combined marketing efforts produced attendance of 400,000 visitors over a five-month period, a huge accomplishment given that the museum’s typical annual attendance averages 250,000.

Besides ongoing media management, our marketing thought leadership has contributed to business success as well. For example, on our recommendation the museum agreed to augment their San Diego Natural History Museum name with a more friendly shorthand version. In 2011, they also became known as theNAT. This move has proven to be highly successful for positioning the museum and its personality for marketing purposes, shown by research to make the museum more approachable by the casual visitor.

Client View

“This agency has been a strategic partner of theNat since 2004. Their deep elationships with local media have generated significant added value that helps us increase our reach - critical for us as a nonprofit. Their partnership has been invaluable in marketing our exhibitions and programs, both large and small.”

Rebecca Handelsman,
Senior Director of Communications