Leo Burnett helps museum goers speak for specimens

A visitor brings life to a specimen with the Field Museum

Well, we’ve been “voicing” everything from bees to dinosaurs in film and TV for decades now, so why not start doing the same for specimens in museums?

That’s exactly what the Field Museum is doing via an experiential effort from agency, Leo Burnett. Burnett, who already cleaned up at Cannes for their fantastic Art Institute VanGogh Air bnb, is no stranger to bringing a museum’s exhibits to life.

In this case, the agency will bring hundreds of dead, inanimate specimens to life through new scripted narratives, in a new campaign titled, Specimens With Something to Say. Here’s the rub, they are not using professional voice talent to deliver the stories, they are seeking amateur Chicagoans who will get to audition their talents in mobile recording booths around the city.

The Field Museum houses a collection of 30 million specimens and artifacts from all points in history and places around the globe. Within each plant, animal and mineral specimen is a unique story about life and the planet we now inhabit, yet they’re unable to reveal their secrets on their own. For the first time, the vocally animated species will al finally be able to share their stories and help us better understand the world in which we live.

“The new monologues chronicle the things you might otherwise never hear about – an extinct minnow that’s the only record of its kind, moss that helped solve an FBI crime, eggs on the frontlines of climate change research,” said Carlos Murad, creative director at Leo Burnett Chicago. “We want everyday Chicagoans to give these specimens a literal voice they’ve never had before.”

Visitors line up to enter in the "Specimens" mobileBy holding auditions in their mobile recording booth, the best voiceover performances will become part of the exhibition and immortalized – much like the specimens they personify – in the museum’s permanent collection. More importantly, each specimen will be able to share its story firsthand. Museum visitors can hear them through a simple mobile website allowing everyone to listen on their phones as they go through the exhibitions.

“To build on The Field Museum’s already astounding specimen collection, we want to overlay a story collection as told by real people in the museum’s hometown,” said Pete Lefebvre, creative director at Leo Burnett Chicago. “Our mobile recording booth will travel around Chicago, allowing people off the street to record the stories of the specimens.”

Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets to Life will be at The Field Museum through January 7, 2018. For more information about the exhibit, click here.