I Don’t Even Know Where To Begin With This

We all know products have to be advertised but this video spot for Depend undergarments titled “Orchestra” is utterly ridiculous. Try to set aside the annoying inaccuracies such as pulling open the curtain on the downbeat and the “conductor” that isn’t conducting with the beat and just pretend not to notice the “magic wand” reference (note to self: don’t hire copy writers who wear Harry Potter t-shirts to the office). Sadly, those are the advertisement’s highlights but enough words, just watch the video…

Here’s the copy that accompanies the video clip at the DependVideo YouTube channel:

Created by JWT NY, this female-targeted TV spot, titled Orchestra, tells the story of an orchestra conductor getting ready for a big performance through the eyes of her friend / orchestra player. With the opening line, What do people know about Kim? the friend shares information like, she cannot set up a music stand they know that she always forgets where she puts her magic wand, but when she finds it, she makes magic happen. The spot concludes with Kim saying, People know a lot of things about me, but no one needs to know about my condition.

I’m going to restrict myself to the following zinger but if you’re moved to express yourself, have some fun and send in a comment.

Frankly, I doubt this is what Philly had in mind with their “Unexecpt yourself” campaign.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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5 thoughts on “I Don’t Even Know Where To Begin With This”

  1. There are simply no words to excuse such pollution. But if anyone thinks this is as low as the advertising world can bring the exalted experience of orchestral music, just wait for a similar campaign featuring Viagra or Cialis. (Gee…I can see it now!)

  2. @Drew – I have known a few conductors that might have needed this product. Getting lost in the score can test one’s intestinal fortitude.

    @Chris – I actually worked with a conductor in Mexico who fit that bill. Wagner was his particular ‘passion.’

  3. Along with its inaccuracies (do people really think professional conductors have to set up their own music stands?) the ad reinforces some annoying stereotypes that intimidate potential concertgoers. (See Chris Felcyn’s recent TAFTO contribution).

    We see presumably affluent people sitting in gilded boxes. Kim “does her own makeup” and is it just me or do these “musicians” seem wooden and conformist? The message is that orchestra concerts are stuffy, boring gatherings for wealthy people. Its about knowing the rules and wearing the right clothing.

    All the more reason for us to continue to take our friends to concerts and promote the idea that listening to live orchestral music can be an exciting and visceral experience.

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