Imagining the Future of Museums

July 22, 2019 / no comments

Guru has been the digital agency of record for the National History Museum of LA (NHM) and La Brea Tar Pits for the last 3 years. You may know us from the “How Do You Museum?” campaign we built in collaboration with the NHM team and our talented comrades at Imaginary Forces.

Our campaign strategy was to customize the museum experience by focusing on how each visitor interacts with the museum. We enrolled influencers like Will Ferrell, who dressed up as Dr. Will Ferrell (a fake paleontologist comedically answering museum-goers questions) and visionary artist Gary Baseman, who brought his iconic character Toby along to tap into the inspiration that fuels his imagination. 

As we look to the future, we seek to tackle a new question: How do we re-imagine the La Brea Tar Pits?

The Tar Pits are an anomaly, tens of thousands of years old, in the center of Los Angeles. Long before L.A. became the city it is today, the Tar Pits looked like little lakes tucked away in a valley of grass and trees. They were expert deceivers, taking hostage any animal who dared to tread too carelessly. Today, paleontologists have pulled out dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, ground sloths, and dire wolves (4,000 to be exact) from the pits. The Tar Pits serve as the perfect time capsules for capturing our world from 10,000 years ago. 

Open to the public, anyone who visits the Tar Pits will be greeted by a sculpture of a family of wooly mammoths. One parent is stuck in a tar pit while the rest of the family helplessly stands on the shore. Inside, a museum displays different animals from the Tar Pits, including a dire wolf skull wall. There’s also an area called, “The Fish Bowl,” where new fossils come out every day.

The amazing thing about the La Brea Tar Pits is that you can witness the entire paleontology process from start to finish, from finding fossils in the tar, to pulling them out, cleaning them, organizing them, understanding what they are, putting them back together, labeling them, and finally, putting them on display. 

The Tar Pits offer an end-to-end experience; the only museum in the world where everything happens on the same grounds: From discovery to display.  

Opened more than 50 years ago, the La Brea Tar Pits is now reimagining itself. The NHM team asked us how, with the incredible technology we have at our fingertips, we could re-imagine the Tar Pits experience.

To start this thought expedition, big thinkers and influencers, including Guru’s Founder, CEO and Chief Creative Office Gagan (Jared Levy) and legendary creative director Peter Frankfurt from Imaginary Forces, convened at the historic El Rey Theater, along with paleontologists and a cross sector of individuals from entertainment, government, nonprofits and marketing.

Together, we brainstormed on the opportunities. One idea was to focus on the tradition of rock concerts, education, and music for a more hip environment. Think DJ’s playing while visitors grab drinks at the Tar Pits. Another stream of thought was activism-based: considering the current climate issues we are facing, how we can see our future by looking back? We imagined the asphalt as carbon boiling up, creating an opportunity to educate visitors on what they can do to fight climate change.

This would reimagine the purpose of museums

Such a think-tank required all of us to ask important questions of ourselves and of the Tar Pits. Museums have long been used to lay out unbiased data and science. But if a museum starts talking about sustainability and climate action, how does that work? At this point, do we care about climate deniers? We know the science and we know that human intervention is what’s causing this serious issue. Could museums play more of an activist role and help illuminate and provide potential solutions? Can museums show the latest inventions and solutions starting to help with climate actions? 

We have a big opportunity to go beyond

Another idea focused on the integration of technology. There are viewfinders in every major city to enable visitors to look at the skyline of high rises, so could we create one leveraging augmented reality for the Tar Pits? Could we make a visitor see woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and what that landscape looked like back in time? Can we imagine the world of people and animals that lived here?

This beautiful day of re-imagination sought more ways to pull out emotion through storytelling. One human has been found in the tar: how do we tell their story? Or is the story told through the paleontologist’s perspective: The Rockstar of the Tar Pits (literally and figuratively). Similar to the notion of “celebrity chefs,” we can certainly demonstrate the badassery of the paleontologist’s processes, no? Or is the story told through the eyes of the woolly mammoth stuck in the tar? Who is the storyteller and who is the protagonist? There’s clearly more than one way to tell this story. 

At the end of the day, we have more questions than answers—which is a fun place to be—but we are honored to be a part of this world-renowned institution.

It is such a unique place and it brings the Guru Crew immense joy to re-imagine the future (and the past) of the La Brea Tar Pits. 

Allow us to introduce…

November 13, 2018 / no comments

We are dedicated to helping create a thriving world. We believe business is the key to getting there. Business has helped us make the social, environmental, and economic messes we’re in today – and it can be instrumental to getting us out.

“It’s just business” has been struck from our vocabulary. We’re calling each and every business into its responsibility to be a good citizen. And, we believe with our full hearts that this is possible without compromising profit. To think otherwise is just a failure of imagination.

Guru has built a reputation as an innovative creative agency. But as we approach a new year, we are excited to re-introduce you to our intent and services. After working at the nexus of business and impact, we’ve recognized a need and in 2019 are launching the world’s first cloud-based impact management system to more effectively and efficiently help brands to define, implement and expand their impact.

We call it MAHA.

MAHA multiplies and amplifies an organization’s impact efforts through:
  • Impact Strategy Documentation
  • Individual and Team e-Training and Certification
  • Values-Aligned Advocate and Influencer Connector
  • Impact Campaign Generator

Our focus at Guru has always been to stoke the fires of a passionately purposeful brand at the center of a business. We help organizations identify, crystalize and fan the flames of this beating heart at the center of their efforts.

We then use this purposeful brand as an organizing idea for managing an organization’s rippling impact through its spheres of influence. This is the purpose of our creative work, but we take it much further – to every decision an organization makes and every point of contact with customers and stakeholders.

MAHA’s mission is to empower and connect values-aligned brands, influencers and individuals to take action on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in service of amplified global impact – a natural extension of Guru’s vision to increase joy and reduce suffering in the world.

Together, Guru and MAHA believe in the power of business to create a thriving future on this planet. And we’re counting on purposeful brands to do the heavy lifting. But it’s going to take all of us. The large and the small. The established and the start-up.

As we look toward 2019, our products and services are scaled for both ends of the spectrum: from full-service purpose branding and acceleration services for those needing custom attention, to e-learning and campaign generator resources for those just starting out.

We’d like to tell you more.

Please reach out to us to meet the new collaborators in our mix and hear about how Guru, together with MAHA, is ready to help you and your business level up as a purposeful brand in 2019.

We Are Proud to Launch REBBL’s “What’s Your Elixir?” Campaign

September 12, 2018 / no comments

Guru and REBBL, creator of organic, super herb-powered coconut-milk elixirs, have launched “What’s Your Elixir?,” a new integrated marketing campaign that connects consumers to the transformational power of super herbs and adaptogens.

As the brand continues to thoughtfully expand into targeted conventional retail stores across the country, “What’s Your Elixir?” aims to reach a wider audience, allow REBBL to get to know their REBBL community on a deeper level, and help consumers understand the power of super herbs and their benefits for the body.  

“What’s Your Elixir?” exemplifies the edgy, deep, and powerfully transformative position the brand holds in the marketplace and leverages a laddered messaging approach, featuring the key brand strengths: taste, natural ingredient functionality, and deeply-rooted social impact. The first wave of the campaign focuses on the exquisite taste of each of the 14 unique offerings, focusing on the arresting design of the bottle packaging, playing up the bright pops of vibrant color and language with statements such as “As good for you as it looks” to entice the viewer to learn more.

The second wave of the campaign will introduce consumers to the truly functional benefits of REBBL’s family of elixirs, driving awareness to the ancient wisdom of the Plant Queendom through super herbs and adaptogens like turmeric, schizandra, and reishi, all staple ingredients in the REBBL lineup.  

As the campaign progresses, the messaging will begin to educate consumers about the larger impact story at REBBL’s core, particularly its dedication to impact sourcing and the 2.5% of net sales that is donated to Not for Sale – the non-profit that co-founded REBBL – for every bottle sold.  Together, REBBL and Not for Sale are working to co-create a future without human trafficking and building a regenerative business and new model for innovative social enterprise.

By connecting taste with function, and ultimately conveying the brand’s greater purpose, REBBL demonstrates the breadth of functionality of its product line and the impact it is having through an array of different channels. The “What’s Your Elixir?” campaign coincides with the launch of REBBLs enhanced website, and will feature digital advertising, social media, a fun and playful video series that engages consumers, integrates influencers, and drives user-generated content, connecting them directly with the larger REBBL Community.  Touting the traditional uses and benefits of the many super herbs featured in REBBL products, the campaign asks customers to share and celebrate the elixir that powers their lives. 

“We are really excited to launch such a fully-immersive campaign and look forward to learning more about how consumers use our elixirs in their own lives, as they discover the ability to tend to their own health while helping create positive social and environmental impact in such an authentic way,” says Rusti Porter, Senior VP of Marketing at REBBL. “Super herbs and adaptogens are still new to most people, and we love the way this campaign helps introduce them to the mainstream through the exquisite taste and intrigue of REBBL products, and once we have their attention- brings them deeper into the holistic story of how we source the truly efficacious power of plants to vitalize our bodies, our communities and our planet.

In addition to popular grocery stores like Whole Foods and other diverse health food retailers nationwide, REBBL has recently launched in west coast Target locations and Safeway stores, continually expanding its distribution. Coming on the heels of its $20 million fundraise in spring 2018, and with an anticipated 8,000 plus retail outlets by the end of this year, REBBL’s growth is powering its ability to help build self-sustaining, resilient communities around the world.  

Follow along with the campaign using #MyElixir on Instagram and Facebook or visit http://rebbl.co/ for more information.