Do These Commercials Inspire You To Buy a Ticket?

Although television ads beyond those with a shoestring budget are beyond the reach for a number of groups in the field, there have been a set of spots coming out of Europe this year that are worth watching. In fact, I posted one of the following videos on my Facebook wall last week and the ensuing discussion brought up a number of questions and concerns about what constitutes a worthwhile commercial.

To that end, it seemed like a good idea to expand the conversation here so take a look at the following three ads (listed in alphabetical order). Is this how you would spend the money if you could make a single television spot for the season? Post a comment with your thoughts and try to avoid a simple “like/dislike” approach and expand on why/why not. I certainly have my own opinions but I don’t want to influence any responses by posting them just yet.

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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0 thoughts on “Do These Commercials Inspire You To Buy a Ticket?”

  1. Clip #1 (Luxembourg Philharmonie): Very humorous but it goes on a bit long at 2:24. This is an ad more for the building and social aspects of the experience, than the music therein. Doubt whether any American Orchestras could afford to purchase ad time this long uless aired at 3am along with informercials for carpet cleaning products. The discussion of what is actually programmed at the hall consumes no more than 20 seconds of the entire clip. Positive aspect: it probably was not expensive to make this ad (other than hiring the ninjas).

    Clip #2 (Czech Philharmonic): Funny and fun, distilled to 30 seconds focusing on the characters in the orchestra. Despite traditional “costuming” which has often been fashionable to question these days, these folks are engaging, producing initial desire to take them all out for a nice Pilsner after the performance. Full disclosure: Dvorak’s Carneval Overture was the first piece I ever played by this composer as a vioinist (I didn’t do it justice), and is absolutely one of my favorites. So I started at the first note of the ad liking it.

    Clip #3 (Zurich Chamber Orchestra): Clever and exciting, at least to folks who can follow the 1st violin rollercoaster over the course of 1 minute. Certainly conveys the athleticism and concentration necessary to perform at this level as a group and individually. It is a team sport of unparalleled timing demands after all. It is a little nerdy, but i liked it.

  2. Clip #1….although artfully done (especially the first minute) it goes on too long, about 1:24 seconds too long. And, no, I certainly don’t think this sells a single ticket for anything. It’s smacks of desperation, and even after all of that talking, and clever musical and camera styles, still the only thing they can leave us with is “it’s still very nice here!?!” Come on….that’s not an advertising
    campaign. At that point in the commercial, it’s as if they’re saying “we’re not ANY of those fun things….but it’s ‘nice’ here.” That’s another nail in the proverbial coffin.

    #2. I actually like this one a bit. As noted about the Dvorak is a great musical choice, but most importantly, it’s presented in a fun way. On the down side, I suspect that the actual performance is less colorful than the commercial suggests. If the actual concert had more of that freedom and fun from the musicians, then it would be worth advertising that as part of the experience. But if your orchestra were willing to have fun during a performance (perhaps not in Mahler, but in Dvorak and/or similar), a campaign like this, although with word of mouth, etc, might be effective.

    #3 The best of the three…visually, this is beautifully and artfully executed. But to be even more effective, a more colorful musical selection might help. By the standards of 19th/20th century orchestral music, this is a rather tame example, made to seem even more so as it’s such a short clip. With only one minute, something with more brass/percussion would be a better choice. You could probably do this commercial in only 30 seconds with the right music and it would be every bit as effective (or even more so). And I agree with the other comment that suggested the incorporation of more than one musical line as the music becomes more complex.

  3. When the first one started, I thought it was a “what not to do” video making fun of awkward attempts to appeal to younger audiences. I agree it was too long and sort of beat the dead horse in terms of the “trying to hard to be hip joke.”

    Second would be good if that was actually the experience you might have at a concert.

    Third was most effective in terms of providing a visual manifestation of the music being played. It didn’t promise anything the organization couldn’t deliver and suggested that new audiences could connect with the music by visualizing it.

  4. #1: I found this to be too abstract and entirely too long.

    #2: Humorous to the point of being corny, which is memorable in a way. But it would have been better if the humor was somehow tied in with something more “real” and believable; less exaggerated.

    #3: Artful, but also abstract. There was nothing really “personal” to draw one in. The musical selection was not particularly ear-catching.

    In general, I would have liked to see ads less abstract and more connected to the best aspects of attending an orchestra concert. Catchy, dramatic music, shots of individual musicians and the entire ensemble, shots of the audience enjoying the performance. Something for the viewers to IDENTIFY with in a more tangible, direct way.

  5. 1. It’s been said..too long, too boring. I stopped the video half way through.
    2. It’s also been said: Fun, entertaining. Would be OK for a PDQ Bach performance where surprising things happen. I think this would only reach the audience who already goes to concerts and know its not like that (wouldn’t it be fun, though?)
    3. Entertaining, engaging.

    Bottom line, none of these would entice me to buy a ticket. I would change the channel or leave the room on the first, laugh at the second, thrill with the third..but not buy a ticket.

    What would make me buy a ticket? Quick clips of the recognizable pieces to be performed, dates, locations and most of all…affordability! And please, get the women out of the antiquated, all-black least give them the option of a white shirt like the men have..or better yet, dress them in ball gowns like Andre Rieu!

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