The Sleeping Beauty
March 13th, 2017 by Avant Card
Celebrating love with red roses and Avant Card
On 11 March, Victorian Opera’s unforgettable production of The Sleeping Beauty unfolded onstage for the first time at Arts Centre Melbourne. We spoke to Henri Marron, Marketing, Media and Sales Manager at Victorian Opera about the dynamic marketing campaign needed for such a bold reimagining, and how a street activation can encompass and convey the transformative power of love.
“I used to work for an international TV channel as the Head of Marketing and Distribution for the European market.
I joined Victorian Opera early August 2016 right on time for the preparation of the company’s Season 2017. It was greatly exciting to join the opera sector and particularly, Victorian Opera, undoubtedly the most innovative opera company in Australia. On top of that, I am lucky to lead a great team!”
The Sleeping Beauty production is poised to intrigue and delight Melbourne audiences. “Composed by Respighi (The Pines of Rome, The Fountains of Rome), The Sleeping Beauty is an incredible yet rarely-performed opera. It was first staged in Rome in 1922 for one of Italy’s leading marionette puppet theatres; a smash hit, it toured the world to countries including Australia. The production traditionally featured singers performing from the orchestra pit while puppeteers performed the action on stage.
Awakened by the bold imagination of director Nancy Black (Master Peter’s Puppet Show, Four Saints in Three Acts), this production positions singers and puppeteers side by side as a community gathers to retell a classic tale, drawing upon their respective storytelling skills. It features the most spectacular life-sized puppets designed by Joe Blanck (King Kong, Walking with Dinosaurs). It’s transfixing!”
An extraordinary production requires a strong marketing campaign, utilizing known and measured channels, as well as innovative master strokes. “We almost had a 360° marketing campaign for this production. We’ve run printed ads in generalist and market-specific press, digital displays on strategically chosen websites, digital cross-promotion with our partners, E-blasts on our data base and related promotions, press articles, radio interviews, social media posts with pictures and video trailers, poster signage within our venue partner Arts Centre Melbourne and a dedicated postcard printed and distributed by Avant Card.
For this production, we’ve entered the digital space more than previous works. We also had our first street activation giving away roses on the streets of Melbourne, coordinated by Avant Card.”
The activation, coordinated by Pat Mackle (Avant Card Managing Director) and Elizabeth den Dulk (Campaign Manager VIC & SA), took place on Thursday 23 March, and Wednesday 1 March. 500 gorgeous long-stemmed red roses, individually wrapped in cellophane, each had one of The Sleeping Beauty Avant Card’s tied to it. Avant Card’s own Pierre-Loup, wearing a Victorian Opera branded shirt, approached Melbourne’s city-goers and offered them a rose ‘from Victorian Opera, in a celebration of love for their upcoming production of The Sleeping Beauty.”
“Opera is so focused our humanity and our emotional states. As such, I thought it was important for us to highlight these aspects of the production while connecting with real people. Melbournians spend most of their time in the streets or onboard trams with their eyes fixed on their smartphones and only connect with a virtual world. My idea was to make them come back in the real world and offer them a moment of re-enchantment.
The idea was to celebrate love and hope, two key messages in The Sleeping Beauty, but also to underline Victorian Opera’s brand key characteristics: accessibility, diversity and celebrating human connections.
The results have been fantastic! People were very surprised, happy, intrigued and very curious about the show as well. We doubled our website visits during the time frame the roses were distributed. It boosted ticket sales as well.”
The strongest, perhaps even the most important moment of the activation was “to be able to observe people’s reaction when they were offered a rose: they were deeply surprised and touched. This has been immortalised by Avant Card’s wonderful photographer [Kristian Bjornason] who did an amazing and difficult job to capture these precise moments.”
Henri Marron reflects on why he approached Avant Card to coordinate Victorian Opera’s first street activation. “I have always been impressed with the genuineness and professionalism of Avant Card staff. They are very organised and adapt fast and easily to their client’s requests.
Within a short time-frame, they provided the right quote, the right suggestions, the right advice and delivered incredible results for our rose activation.”
When it comes to the production itself, Henri Marron reveals his favourite part of The Sleeping Beauty: “Simply listening to the incredible music and letting myself be completely mesmerised by the storytelling on stage. Combining puppetry, singing, acting and dance, this production is completely captivating.”