The Royal Swedish Opera is Sweden's national stage for opera and ballet since 1773. It’s a very well-known institution – but hardly trendy. With a loyal audience who slowly dies (!) and lack of new visitors, the opera needed to take a bigger grip and renew its image and communication towards new audiences without losing their faithful circle.
The Royal Swedish Opera’s former communication supported the somewhat dusty image of the opera, which was also supported by the traditional media selection: print in the daily press, where already loyal visitors seek information about the current offer.
Several of the Royal Swedish Opera’s performances are traditionally hard to sell because of their narrow audiences. Our mission was to communicate the Royal Swedish Opera’s performances in a new way to new audiences.
- Strengthen the brand while keeping the classical image of the opera and adding more appealing, inviting (make the audience feel included and welcome) and exciting values.
- Improve the attitude of the opera to make it the most popular theater scene in Sweden.
- Widening the audience and sell tickets to the shows. (The Opera had a limited budget why we had to both build the brand and sell more in each individual campaign.)
Four of our campaigns:
1. Orphée: The modern action-based version of the classic Orphée opera. As the story takes place in the underworld, we conducted the entire campaign underground, in the subway – a brand new media for this "fine" institute. A large photo-realistic 3D decal on the floor of the Stockholm Central Station, posters in the trains and online advertising. Result: 1 568 000 Stockholmers passed by during the campaign and the whole season was sold out.
2. The subscription campaign / Greatest Sits: We linked celebrities in politics, fashion, entertainment, art, and media to actual chair numbers they sat on when they were on the opera (from classical greats such as Martin Luther King, Ingmar Bergman and Prince Eugen to celebrities of today). The idea was to show that each chair subscription is a tangible way for everyone to become part of the opera's history. Result: Opera subscription sales increased 107 % compared to the previous year and new trial-subscriptions increased by 200 %. Also, the campaign was raised for two minutes in the popular television program Parlamentet.
3. The Royal Ballet leaves the Royal Opera: Boring, stiff and “not for me”. That’s a usual perception of ballet. But the truth is that it consists of fashion, art, sports, music and dance – things that people love. To reach new target groups and change their associations into something more relevant, we threw free themed ballet shows outside the Royal Opera House. The first campaign themed ‘Fashion’ was held three Saturdays in a row in Nordiska Kompaniet’s shop-windows. Result: Generating massive media attention, for example, an invitation to perform in TV4. And the whole season was sold out.
4. The Queen of Spades: An opera with an edge: Tchaikovsky’s classic. In a simple and fast way, we highlighted the essence of the performance: gambling and addiction. Print and outdoor.
The long-term result:
- Even the most obscure shows were sold out.
- The audience became more loyal and more people than ever before tried opera for the first time.
- The brand attitude towards the Royal Swedish Opera steadily increased for three years in a row, and finally became the number one theatre stage of Stockholm. Despite a much smaller budget than our main competitors (Stockholms Stadsteater and Dramaten), the Royal Swedish Opera became the most liked theater in Stockholm.