When Was The Last Time You Saw A Genuinely Impressive Video Promo?

Adaptistration People 154Norman Lebrecht posted an item at Slippedisc.com yesterday poking fun at what he calls “the worst-ever orchestra promo video” and I have to agree, it’s entirely uninspiring. But Lebrecht’s post got me thinking about video promos in general and I found it difficult to think of anything that really caught my attention over the past few years.

There is no shortage of promos with excellent production quality but they tend to follow a tried-and-true approach: play the music (probably not the group being sold), show the conductor being conductorly (BIG cues), some crowd shots (A millenial, a millenial! My kingdom for a millennial!), throw in some lens flare transitions and call it a day.

But one series that stands out are the videos from the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Second City collaboration. If you haven’t come across them, you’re missing out.

An earlier version of that same mix included a cut with Patrick Stewart.

From 2012 through 2014, Second City did a running series called Doctor Opera (#DrOpera).

What are some video promos that have stood out for you over the years and why?

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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2 thoughts on “When Was The Last Time You Saw A Genuinely Impressive Video Promo?”

  1. In your post you note that many groups include music in their videos, but they are not performing it. One reason for this phenomenon is that often the group may be performing the piece for the first time and has no archival recordings. what’s an arts marketer to do? It’s a chicken and egg question. Thank you for the humorous alternatives you offer!

    • I’m glad someone took the time to point out that Catch-22. For premier works, the problem is much more difficult but on the other side of that coin, providing a tiny segment of the something listeners aren’t familiar with already will have marginal impact on ticket buyer decisions. For standard repertoire, it’s a tougher nut to crack but focusing on creating archival recordings that can be used for promotional purposes per media greement standards is one of the most useful approaches. When that’s not an option, then licensing music is likely going to be your best bad option.

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