Textual ads for Tate Britain - see Millais' Ophelia as you've never experienced it before

Grey London substitutes visual art with powerful words and typography


Grey London has subverted the tradition that art should be promoted visually in order to connect Tate Britain and its artworks with a new audience

In its first campaign for the gallery, Grey has created ads for three very different paintings, to be shown on the London Underground.

All part of BP Displays, Tate Britain’s permanent collection of '500 Years of Stories', they play to the strengths of print media with crafted long copy enhanced by unique typography.  

Everything has been stripped away and rather than show images to promote the work, it uses powerful words to tell the story behind the art. 

Drawing people in and forcing reappraisal of art works people think they know well, the ads compel people to visit Tate Britain and see the work for themselves in a completely different context.

Written by Pete Gatley, Jonas Roth and Rasmus Smith-Bech, Grey London claimed the words 'give us an insight into the manipulation of public image, the torture of obsessive love and the beauty of grief'. 

"Each story unlocks the power behind the work in ways we can all relate to," said Grey London. "Art directed by chairman and CCO Nils Leonard, the typography allows these stories to sing, conveying the emotion imbued in the work: proudly front and centre for ‘Portrait of Elizabeth I’, fractured and declining for Francis Bacon’s 1972 ‘Triptych’, rippling and drifting off for Millais’ ‘Ophelia’, Tate Britain’s most popular painting."


Dom Goldman, ECD Grey London said, "Working with Tate Britain’s curators, we unlocked the stories in art to drive footfall to the gallery and encourage people to discover more stories for themselves. We hope this will mean much of the British art is reappraised and talked about once again in culture as it was when it originated."

“Our ambition in working with Grey London is to offer a broader audience new ‘ways in’ to the art we present at Tate Britain by creating cultural relevance," said Rob Baker, Tate chief marketing officer: .  This first campaign is a taste of the new approach we’ll be taking to unlock the power of art through our communications."

Postcards of the ads will be available to the public for free in Tate Britain from next week. 

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