L.A. classical arts groups take a page out of Hollywood marketing playbook

Posted on: June 22, 2010

In the July 2010 issue of Opera News, Polly Frost writes, “The new Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor’s kinetic image leaps out of vibrant red and magenta billboards, his star quality so great that only his first name—Gustavo—is needed. Los Angeles Opera’s production of Wagner’s Ring wasn’t just onstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: it was a part of city life for months. … Welcome to the new world of classical-music marketing, in which it’s necessary to make Olivier Messiaen seem as buzz-worthy as the latest Shia LaBeouf vehicle, and to make Puccini seem a plausible entertainment alternative to a Lakers game. … Like the launching of a new TV show or the premiere of an action movie, Gustavo Duda¬mel’s first season was backed by an impressive ad and merchandising campaign. There haven’t just been T-shirts and mugs; there’s also an online Conductor-Hero-style game, even a downloadable iPhone app. When it comes to ads, ‘Share the Sensation’ is certainly one of the year’s sexier taglines, while the word ‘Pasión’ plays up Dudamel’s Latin heritage. … Jean Oelrich, director of marketing at Los Angeles Opera, expressed gratitude to Hollywood for lending marketing techniques. ‘These days we have to pay attention not only to traditional marketing channels but to the whole range of e-marketing tools,’ Oelrich explained.”

Posted June 22, 2010