Meow Wolf unveils mind-bending ads from Preacher for a new exhibition, ‘The Real Unreal’

‘Come Find Yourselfs at the Mall,’ says the campaign, which includes an OOH kiosk for a fake wellness brand

Published On
May 23, 2023
Kids and a doll with adult faces

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If you haven’t been to the mall in a while, you’re missing your chance at cult-like self-actualization.

That’s the vibe we get, at least, from the experiential tricksters at Meow Wolf in a new ad campaign for its latest permanent exhibition, “The Real Unreal,” opening July 14 at the Grapevine Mills mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Wieden+Kennedy helped the art collective set the tone for its previous ad campaigns, but Austin agency Preacher takes over for this effort, which includes the 60-second hero spot below. It’s themed “Come find yourselfs at the mall,” and it’s classic Meow Wolf—creepy, surreal and amusing all at once. The film was directed by Zach Tavel of Easy Petes/Deafdog Productions.


If entering a wormhole with a bunch of tracksuit-clad maniacs and their alien buddies is your thing, you’d surely enjoy the exhibition itself, which begins with “a blended family who has unknowingly unlocked portals to a different existence,” according to Meow Wolf. The ensuing story, conceived by author LaShawn Wanak, involves “missing boy, a chosen family and Hapulusgarrulus Lophoaquaflori” and features “different dimensions of perspective and creativity through 30+ rooms of multidimensional art and compelling narrative.”

The exhibition will be permanent housed inside the Grapevine Mills malls (creative stuff happening in malls is a thing lately), and fans are getting an early taste through another piece of the campaign—an interactive kiosk in the mall corridor outside the exhibition featuring “intra-wellness” brand “Laërnu.” Attractions include nonsensical affirmations, digital and mirrored “reflection” stations, and a claw machine filled with wonders including free tickets for entry.

"Laërnu" experience inside the Grapevine Mills mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

"Laërnu" experience inside the Grapevine Mills mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

"Laërnu" experience inside the Grapevine Mills mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

"Laërnu" experience inside the Grapevine Mills mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

There is traditional OOH advertising as well.

“The entire campaign serves as a wonderfully weird and mind-bending invitation to join us in this new Meow Wolf Grapevine dimension, one designed to empower us all to explore and discover our various ‘selfs,’” said Marcus Brown, creative director at Preacher. “Meow Wolf is a brain-altering, insanely fun and welcoming experience. Our goal was to pay homage to that through the lens of nostalgic mall culture, inspired by Meow Wolf’s philosophies, artists and lovable characters. What lies beyond the portal, however, you’ll have to discover for yourselfs.”

Meow Wolf billboard that reads "Come Find Yourselfs"

Some 150 artists and fabricators, including 38 from Texas, created the 70 unique experiences within “The Real Unreal.” In addition to the experience itself, the new space will also host local vendors, a retail space and a live performance venue. 

“The detached dimension of Meow Wolf’s ‘The Real Unreal’ at Grapevine Mills will be a place of beauty and discovery, where you can find answers to questions you haven’t even asked yet, and venture through unreal, mind-bending narratives brought to life with never-before-imagined immersive art,” said Kelly Schoeffel, the former 72andSunny exec who recently joined Meow Wolf as chief marketing officer. “Big kudos to Preacher for going on the journey with us to figure out what that even means! They creatively embraced our inherent weird, and it shows in the work.”

Meow Wolf billboard that reads "Come Find Yourselfs"


May 23, 2023
Client :
Meow Wolf
Agency :
Chief Marketing Officer :
Kelly Schoeffel
Director of Brand Content :
Allyson Lupovich
Director of Sales & Marketing :
Karie Slagle
Creative Director :
Kat Lam
Creative Director :
Dave Jasmon
VP Marketing Operations :
Megan Ambrose
Marketing Project Manager :
Jena Braziel
Artwork :
Joe Cappa
Chief Creative Officer :
Rob Baird
Chief Executive Officer :
Krystle Loyland
Chief Strategy Officer :
Seth Gaffney
Creative Director :
Marcus Brown
Creative Director :
Zach Watkins
Group Brand Director :
Kristen Meade
Associate Creative Director :
Tyler Booker
Associate Creative Director :
Mel Lin
Head of Production :
Stacey Higgins
Producer :
Victoria Boldt
Business Affairs :
Miiko Martin
Production Company :
Easy Petes / Deafdog Productions
Director :
Zach Tavel
Line Producer :
Drew Toresco
DP :
Josh Kuzo
Casting :
Brian Beegle Casting
Edit House :
Executive Producer :
Viet-An Nguyen
Producer :
Sarah Schachte
Editor :
Kevin Zimmerman
Assistant Editor :
Jill Sarao
Music :
Cody Ackors
Music :
Quality Tracks
Mix :
Dusty Albertz
Mix :
Howdy Sound
Finish House :
The Mill
Online Producer :
Sarah Brennan-Athas
Colorist :
Logan Highlen

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