Creative in association withGear Seven

Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum Turns up the Volume with Dynamic New Voice

Advertising Agency
Toronto, Canada
Brand platform, visual identity, short film and campaign from Broken Heart Love Affair dramatically disrupts perceptions about the museum and its role in society

As the world moves beyond the pandemic, a new ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) is emerging, one that will change the way people think about the role of the museum and its place in the city. As part of this transformation, today, ROM unveils a dynamic new brand voice and a powerful film. This new brand signals ROM’s intention to open its doors wider to a new generation of museum-goers and help build back culture in the city and province.  

“Now, more than ever, people are looking for new ways of understanding, and new ways of connecting with their community,” says Josh Basseches, ROM director & CEO. “And with today’s launch, we are using our platform to reimagine our role in the community and bring Ontario back to culture.”

Two years ago, ROM kicked off the journey of revitalising its brand to match the transformation happening within the museum’s walls, with the help of Toronto’s creative community. As culture sector leaders, ROM is dedicated to changing outdated perceptions of the museum and ensuring Ontario’s future generations see ROM as a central cultural experience for them, a place of belonging, a place where people come to better understand the events shaping our world today. 

The brand platform was designed to articulate ROM’s bold vision and to disrupt the way people think about the Museum. Ultimately communicating to audiences that ROM is an institution that will ask the big questions, invite discussion, and present stories through multiple perspectives. ROM collaborated with agency partner Broken Heart Love Affair (BHLA) to develop this new brand platform and launch campaign. 

“Starting today, ROM is turning up the volume, ushering in a new era and dynamic new voice with the launch of our brand platform, ROM Immortal.” says Lori Davison, ROM chief marketing and communications officer. “At its core, is the message that we live on in what we leave behind, quite literally through the objects found in the Museum, but also, through the legacy of what we all leave behind as citizens of the world and stewards of this planet.  Every object in ROM is a portal to stories with the relevance that can speak to something we are facing today; igniting important cultural conversations. Immortal, as a platform, speaks to the legacy of these objects and the immortality of these stories.” 

To bring the Museum’s new brand platform, ROM Immortal, to life, the Museum commissioned Toronto-based filmmaker Mark Zibert, in collaboration with Broken Heart Love Affair’s Carlos Moreno and Denise Rossetto. This artistic expression of the Museum’s bold vision sets the tone for a new way of thinking about the Museum. The film chronicles the story of existence and reflects the scale of ROM and its collection. It is an important record of who we are, the marks we leave on ourselves, each other and the world. 

“ROM understands the power of art to provoke, inspire and reframe understanding,” said Denise Rossetto, chief creative officer at Broken Heart Love Affair. “In a world full of constant debate, cultural institutions, like ROM, can provide an unfiltered record of the truth through our collective history, both the devastating moments and our most inspiring.  Our vision with this film is to challenge past views and confront timely issues, include multiple voices and perspectives, inviting discussion, debate, and self-reflection.”

In tandem with this, a new ROM visual identity is helping lead the transformation towards a contemporary and relevant cultural force to appropriately represent the transformation taking place within the walls. The identity, developed by Canadian agency, Leo Burnett Design, expresses the new vision through elements including logo, typography and photography. A neutral and timeless palette creates a bold backbone that allows the magic of the objects and stories to shine. The identity will impact marketing communications, exhibition and programming materials and the building for years to come

The integrated campaign launches today and will be running throughout the summer inclusive of cinema, OOH, digital, leveraging the 90 second version of the film, while the full version can be found on ROM’s YouTube channel. Paid media was managed and executed by OMD, with No Fixed Address managing Public Relations. 

“We imagined the 13 million artefacts in ROM’s archive as an immortal timeline. The design of the new identity brought that to life in a typographic approach that resembles a timeline. Along with the logo, photography and design language; the new visual identity is bold, timeless and adaptable. It evolves what people think of ROM and will live on long after us.” Man Wai Wong, VP group creative director, Leo Burnett Design

“The film is an epic ode to life and the story of existence. That is the story of the objects in ROM. Our film takes place in a womb of infinite possibilities and is told from the perspective of an unborn child; a protagonist without race, gender or stigma.” - Mark Zibert, ROM:Immortal Filmmaker on the film inspiration 

Work from Broken Heart Love Affair
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