An architectural marvel, the Pompidou (as it is often called), looks as if a regular building had been turned inside out — all the scaffolding and ducting appear to be on the outside, which scandalized old school Parisians in the late-70s. Since then, the museum, which houses the largest modern art collection in Europe, has been a point of pride for the thousands of locals who annually visit the postmodern monument.
That said, the Pompidou has long experienced trouble enticing international visitors to the museum, who are often unaware that it exists despite a collection that rivals the MoMA in New York and the Tate Modern in London.
To address the issue, the Pompidou did some investigating and discovered that the most visited Parisian landmarks have a single, surprising thing in common that makes them essential spots on any tourist’s itinerary. The common denominator? Each had a souvenir — a literal takeaway — most often a little figurine of the location itself, including, naturally, the ubiquitous Eiffel Tower.
Inexplicably, the Pompidou didn’t have a souvenir of its own, so some were produced and then flooded into Parisian gift shops. The center even formed its own street team of vendors to sell them in front of the other attractions and spur the question, “What is that?” It opened up a conversation so the vendors could share the virtues of the Pompidou and suggest a “collect them all” approach to what they termed the Big 5 tourist spots: The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur, and, of course, Centre Pompidou.
The souvenir isn’t merely a statuette — it’s a means of getting to the Pompidou itself. A QR code on the bottom of the souvenir produces a map to free museum shuttles from wherever you are when snapped with a smartphone. They even have a hashtag: #SouvenirsDeParis.
When planning your next event marketing experience, consider what the Pompidou learned — what’s your takeaway? We can help.