According to his Twitter bio, Jean-Paul Brunier describes himself as a “19th century Parisian on the streets of Chicago.” Brunier spends his days combing the streets of Chicago and documenting current fashion on his Tumblr.
Just about every single week day, Jean-Paul will post a sepia-toned picture of a real Chicagoan on his blog along with the neighborhood and some commentary on the outfit.
It’s fun to read commentary on clothing that seems quite familiar to us, and also gets you intrigued as to why some of these outfits could be so shocking to Jean-Paul.
In between Chicago fashion posts, he’ll post Impressionist paintings from the exhibit and the Art Institute will comment with a link to one of their ARTicles that delves more into the history of the work of art.
Every so often Jean-Paul posts short video diaries about his dealings in Chicago. The short spots are great for connecting to the character and hopefully encourage more people to follow the account.
My favorite is this one about cheese:
The Tumblr and Twitter accounts were launched about a month before the exhibit opened, which gave Jean-Paul plenty of time to hype up those who stumbled upon him on these networks.
When not tasked to his usual duties of documenting Chicago fashion, Jean-Paul has plenty to say about important events in Chicago.
He was present for the Blackhawks parade after they won the Stanley Cup.
But Jean-Paul isn’t just a social media persona being run by the museum or an agency. He’s also been showing up at museum functions to promote the exhibit. He was seen at the opening of the exhibit along with the Art Institute’s After Dark event a few nights later.
Talk about the perfect marriage of online and offline marketing.
I’m not sure whether Brunier is a dedicated member of the Art Institute of Chicago staff, part of a social media agency, an actor hired for the duration of the exhibit, or some combination of all three. [Update: The Art Institute has paired up with Leo Burnett for this promotion.] But here’s the thing – I don’t need to know. Jean-Paul has taken a life of his own and has publicized this exhibition in a completely new way. He has transcended advertising for the exhibit and is now a part of the entire experience.
After all, native Chicagoans are happily finding him on the street:
Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on Google+