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Our brief from ENO was simple: ‘make opera more accessible’. But further to research, one of the key challenges was the perception and assumption that opera is elitist, expensive and sung in a foreign language. So ENO asked us to help them break down barriers and connect them with new culturally literate audiences they should be attracting.
So our approach to their marketing takes its inspiration from the publishing world, where a strong, simple, graphic approach to a cover will engage buyers visually, but it’s the synopsis on the back that often clinches a purchase. Consequently, all campaigns now lead with the stories (rather than a title only likely to mean something to opera lovers), and clarify that each production is either sung, or translated, into English, with tickets available for every production from only £12, to appeal to new and younger audiences, who may previously have concluded opera was not for them.
In 2018/19 over half a million people came to one of ENO’s live performances, listened to one of their BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, watched one of the operas on Sky Arts and enjoyed their international co-productions around the world. This represents a steady, year-on-year increase in first time bookers (now over 50%), minorities and audiences who were 44 or under since 2017/18. The Autumn/Winter 2018/19 season alone saw an increase of 40.5% in ticket sales year on year compared to Autumn/Winter 2017/18. With the 2019/20 season currently in progress, audience data is still being gathered.