Yes, Andrew, Classical Music Advertising Does Suck

After nearly three years of pissing in the wind on this subject, it’s nice to see this article by Andrew Mellor bearing the headline, “Why Does Classical Music Advertising Suck?”

In the article Mellor says of opera advertising, “It follows the industry’s favorite communicative norm: conceived by people who already love the art form for people who already love the art form.”

Readers of this blog know that I’ve been pointing out for a long time just how badly arts marketing sucks, so it’s nice to see someone else chiming in, however fleetingly. Mr. Mellor has addressed the surface-level issue – arts lovers talking to arts lovers – but unfortunately he misses the root cause, which is executive arts leaders who have no professional marketing expertise making amateur marketing decisions.

norma-desmondTo answer your question, Andrew, classical music advertising sucks because the executive leaders who run the institutions – and who choose the ads you’re likely to see in the tube stations – want so desperately to believe they’re talking to people who love the art form, they’ll talk to them whether they exist or not.

And if it turns out they don’t exist in sufficient numbers to generate a return on all those insiders-talking-to-insiders ads, they can do what arts leaders here in the US do: blame the educational system for not producing enough insiders who want to respond to the advertising they like to do.

Disclaimer: The Artsjournal link is where the headline “Why Does Classical Music Advertising Suck?” appears. The New Statesman article seems to have gotten a tamer one. Not sure why they differ.




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