Jump to content

Communicating with target audiences in the digital age


Recommended Posts

I think that over the years Northern Ballet's posters have become more sophisticated.  Pre-pandemic there was an exhibition of posters in the foyer at the company HQ in Leeds and that brought back so many memories.

 

The company issued some news items featuring the posters.  Here is the link for David Nixon-era posters which has links at the bottom for posters from earlier eras:

 

https://northernballet.com/our-history/our-archive/david-nixon-obe-poster-collection

 

I once got talking to a couple sat next to me at the Palace Theatre in Manchester for a performance of Michael Pink's Dracula.  At the interval they asked me when the singing would start as they thought they had booked for Dracula the Musical, which was touring at the same time.  At the end they told me that they had loved the ballet!

 

It is all very well putting numerous posts on FB and twitter but they have to be seen by people.  The sponsored links on FB, which hits more of an audience, have to be paid for but that is presumably still cheaper and possibly more cost effective than advertising in the printed press.  I think that the way social media algorithms work sponsored posts are the only way to reach a wider audience.

 

Another thing is if the company gets mentioned and there is a word of mouth "buzz".  Apart from the first night NB's recent triple at Leeds Playhouse looked as though the ticket sales were poor to say the least.  After the first night word of mouth got around and, by the last night, people were trying for returns.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think that the current opera posters would get anyone who knew nothing about opera to buy a ticket for either Salome or Auda. The main problem is that neither production is set in  the place or time in which the composer and the librettist set their creation with the result that any poster using photographs of the productions or art work based on the productions'  designs will tell the viewer next to nothing about the work in question and is most unlikely to generate any curiosity about the piece let alone the desire to buy tickets. Neither production provides much in the way of opportunities to create arresting images that might persuade someone to do battle  with the Opera House's website  if it is in a bad mood. It does not help that while the designs for Salome date from a time when it was fashionable to allude to foreign cinema and owe a great deal to  Passolini's  film 120 days of Sodom, the new Aida continues Carsen's commentary on the US. The new production sets much of the action of Aida in a large hall which might be the Hall of the People of some totalitarian regime. The monotony is broken  by setting another scene in  a dining hall where we watch a table being laid and a tea trolley wheeled on to some of the ballet music. 

 

As far as the ballet is concerned I stumbled across a poster for Mayerling on Pimlici station about a week ago and while I was pleased to see that the powers that be had finally relented of their ban on posters the advertisement was not exactly prominently placed and the image selected was hardly arresting. Rather than being displayed in a part of the station where it will be seen by a large number of passengers it was displayed right at the end of the platform where it will only be seen by the driver and those in the first carriage of the train. Obviously a great deal of thought had gone into the whole problem of publicising what the ROH is doing. Perhaps we should be grateful that someone somewhere in the organisation  has finally realised that it is not enough simply to talk to the people who already know that you exist  and what you do if you really want ro sell tickets in the numbers they need to shift. It would be progress if they have finally come to realise that it is not enough simply to say " We are the Royal Opera House" and expect that statement to be enough to sell tickets.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

I find it interesting that BRB have put out a special PR about their upcoming performances in London - they certainly didn't do that for anywhere else they have been on tour!

 

Very interesting - is it cynical to wonder whether the real targets are arts supremos and critics?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

I think that over the years Northern Ballet's posters have become more sophisticated.  Pre-pandemic there was an exhibition of posters in the foyer at the company HQ in Leeds and that brought back so many memories.

 

The company issued some news items featuring the posters.  Here is the link for David Nixon-era posters which has links at the bottom for posters from earlier eras:

 

https://northernballet.com/our-history/our-archive/david-nixon-obe-poster-collection

 

I once got talking to a couple sat next to me at the Palace Theatre in Manchester for a performance of Michael Pink's Dracula.  At the interval they asked me when the singing would start as they thought they had booked for Dracula the Musical, which was touring at the same time.  At the end they told me that they had loved the ballet!

 

It is all very well putting numerous posts on FB and twitter but they have to be seen by people.  The sponsored links on FB, which hits more of an audience, have to be paid for but that is presumably still cheaper and possibly more cost effective than advertising in the printed press.  I think that the way social media algorithms work sponsored posts are the only way to reach a wider audience.

 

Another thing is if the company gets mentioned and there is a word of mouth "buzz".  Apart from the first night NB's recent triple at Leeds Playhouse looked as though the ticket sales were poor to say the least.  After the first night word of mouth got around and, by the last night, people were trying for returns.

A musical inadvertently being the “marketing” for a ballet- fantastic! 👍

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

Very interesting - is it cynical to wonder whether the real targets are arts supremos and critics?


I think it’s a smart move … this will then be the basis of any reviews or previews.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 27/09/2022 at 09:53, Sim said:

I think much of the problem might be that many people in advertising/marketing are young and trendy, and might not have a lot of understanding (in the case of some of the arts) of what exactly it is that they are advertising nor what they are trying to achieve from it (ticket sales, surely).  Arts institutions are also constantly under pressure from ACE to be more 'relevant' and attract 'younger' audiences...so I guess the funky style of advertising is gearing towards that.

 

Just my own opinion...I am not presuming to speak for anyone else nor appear superior.  :)

 

Arriving at this thread rather late…

I work in advertising with more of a focus on the digital space and I find much of the arts advertising exceptionally frustrating. 
 

During the ups and downs of Covid when ROH was trying to advertise its streamed performances (in addition to live in theatre), they continued to take out full back page ads using exactly the same creative templates as always to try to sell tickets - no images, just words - no idea how they expected this to sell.
 

I also think that while digital advertising can be used to some degree to engage and close a sale, small ad formats aren’t the way to do it and need to be used in conjunction with bigger formats which are more experiential. One thing which I really admire about BRB is that they take dancers out to the Bullring pre Christmas to show off a bit of Nutcracker. Yes perhaps a more expensive way to go about advertising with all of the set up needed for what looks like an impromptu performance but it makes ballet much more tangible for new audiences. 
 

It also somewhat baffles me that we have around 12 weeks of Strictly in the first burst of the dance season and surely this is an opportunity to ‘cross sell’ some ballet or contemporary dance to a dance engaged audience to show people that ballet isn’t always what you would expect it to be (thinking ENB Forsythe or an exhilirating virtuoso piece - infact, you could imagine this sort of thing filling the pop star PR space on Britain’s Got Talent finals week too).

 

I would be using projectors to deliver as large as life snippets of dance programmes on tube platforms to entertain people and give them an experience while they are waiting (and waiting) for trains. Augmented reality or interactive outdoor formats (eg at bus stops) could do a similar job.

This of course won’t deliver immediate ticket sales but ballet needs a brand revival. Without investing in brand, the current cycle will just perpetuate itself (there is a really good article on the Marketing Week website this week which delves into this point). 
 

Bigger issue is then proving ballet isn’t elite with the recent price inflation at the ROH. I know times are tough for everyone but it looks like they are already seeing the impact of the loss of regular customers with Nutcracker tickets still plentiful post new year and Sleeping Beauty looking rather slow. 

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree with a lot you say Blossom, and you are decidedly more knowledgeable than I am, for sure. Just a couple of points; Nutcracker always sells fantastically well before Christmas, then struggles in January. I think Beauty will sell out - eventually, once the festive season over. Whilst invigorating the art form is no doubt something to aim for, there is the risk of removing the very ‘magic’ that keeps people coming back. So perhaps a degree of educating (no idea how!) a new audience TO the art form, rather than recreating the art form to a new audience.  That’s how I ended up at the ballet, after a long, long spell going to gigs in my ‘youth’.....

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, just dawned on me what you might have been saying about popping a bit of ballet into things like Strictly or whatever - showing a possibly interested audience what they could be seeing. Yes, with you on that

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With regards to strange ads etc appearing on Facebook pages…has anybody else noticed they get ads for partners things and interests because presumably sharing the same WiFi connection at home. 
I’ve often had ads for Japanese knives suddenly appear on my newsfeed obviously because partner has been looking at them …it’s okay he’s seriously into cooking….Unfortunately he’s not on Facebook as would love to know what ads would drop into his newsfeed. 
I get lots of ROH ads but assumed that was because I had liked their page but maybe it’s also connected to booking performances ….perhaps this increases the frequency of them? 
As rarely use the tube these days don’t know how Ads for ballet are doing there but they could have more of those large ads on buses. 
Sadlers Wells can be a bit annoying not so much re ballet but because they DO have a lot of posters but it’s impossible to see what’s on right now!! 
You could if walking past I suppose but I pass on the bus so many times and it would be helpful if there could be a specific focus perhaps around the main entrance area on advertising what you can actually see there that week. 
It’s some years now since we have taken any regular newspaper ..only occasional pick ups now…so don’t see any ads in Arts reviews these days. 
I now receive digitally eg: via email What’s on at ROH, The South Bank, the National Theatre, the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, and Royal College of Music. I used to receive Wigmore Hall but obviously something gone wrong there. As a Friend of ENB always get news of them via email And I forgot The Mayflower in Southampton still send me what’s on there after going there a few times a couple of years back. 
So I suppose I’ve gone digital myself now for the things I’m interested in going to so don’t need the posters so much for information any more but agree not sure how you target NEW audiences at least those who wouldn’t normally think of going to a ballet or concert etc etc. I think in this digital

age individuals are expected to find out their own information on their interests. 
I agree showing mini demos is a way of possibly getting some newbies in but not that cost effective in the end I would think. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I know it’s really silly if you’ve literally just returned from a Premier Inn in Weymouth say to have ads suggesting a premier inn break in….well Weymouth 🙄

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/11/2022 at 19:51, Blossom said:

Arriving at this thread rather late…

I work in advertising with more of a focus on the digital space and I find much of the arts advertising exceptionally frustrating. 
 

During the ups and downs of Covid when ROH was trying to advertise its streamed performances (in addition to live in theatre), they continued to take out full back page ads using exactly the same creative templates as always to try to sell tickets - no images, just words - no idea how they expected this to sell.
 

I also think that while digital advertising can be used to some degree to engage and close a sale, small ad formats aren’t the way to do it and need to be used in conjunction with bigger formats which are more experiential. One thing which I really admire about BRB is that they take dancers out to the Bullring pre Christmas to show off a bit of Nutcracker. Yes perhaps a more expensive way to go about advertising with all of the set up needed for what looks like an impromptu performance but it makes ballet much more tangible for new audiences. 
 

It also somewhat baffles me that we have around 12 weeks of Strictly in the first burst of the dance season and surely this is an opportunity to ‘cross sell’ some ballet or contemporary dance to a dance engaged audience to show people that ballet isn’t always what you would expect it to be (thinking ENB Forsythe or an exhilirating virtuoso piece - infact, you could imagine this sort of thing filling the pop star PR space on Britain’s Got Talent finals week too).

 

I would be using projectors to deliver as large as life snippets of dance programmes on tube platforms to entertain people and give them an experience while they are waiting (and waiting) for trains. Augmented reality or interactive outdoor formats (eg at bus stops) could do a similar job.

This of course won’t deliver immediate ticket sales but ballet needs a brand revival. Without investing in brand, the current cycle will just perpetuate itself (there is a really good article on the Marketing Week website this week which delves into this point). 
 

Bigger issue is then proving ballet isn’t elite with the recent price inflation at the ROH. I know times are tough for everyone but it looks like they are already seeing the impact of the loss of regular customers with Nutcracker tickets still plentiful post new year and Sleeping Beauty looking rather slow. 

If it’s any help, Blossom, RB’s Nutcracker is now completely sold out (even the seats with views blocked by pillars and safety rails are taken) up to New Year’s Day and it isn’t even December yet (the two Saturdays in January are also sold out or only a couple of tickets left). In my experience their Nutcracker always sells out by the day of the show even if they add more and more shows or the ticket prices go up. ENB’s Nutcracker is actually selling much too well as there are lots of us who can’t get tickets until casting comes out, and I’m actually a tad worried there will be none left for us when casting is announced. I can’t buy in advance as attempting to change tickets any where is a nightmare (trying to find new seats that haven't been sold yet), as lovely as the Coli staff are.

 

I think Sleeping Beauty will sell, with its U-rated content being suitable for all audiences from age 5 to 125 (5 being minimum age allowed in) and its fairy tale theme. As should Cinderella, as long as the costumes and sets don’t look hideous. The ones that might suffer are the last of the Mayerlings, and the Corybantic Games triple bill in June.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...