TSO tunes into its brand appeal with lifestyle campaign

The Toronto Symphony orchestra hopes its latest marketing efforts hit a high note with a younger group of Torontonians. ...

The Toronto Symphony orchestra hopes its latest marketing efforts hit a high note with a younger group of Torontonians.

The new campaign, designed by Taxi Advertising and Design for the 2001/2002 season, marks a shift in focus for the company. In the past, TSO marketing has emphasized the symphony itself along with its musicians. Now the priority is shifting to developing the TSO name as a kind of lifestyle brand.

‘Strategically, we have taken the emphasis off the musicians and on to the music, the composers and feelings behind it,’ says TSO’s director of marketing, Michael Buckland.

In the spirit of that philosophy, the symphony has a new tagline, ‘Music inspired by life,’ that will appear on ads in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail and will feature real-life images, such as a blue-eyed baby and a man meditating seaside. If you didn’t know better, you might think these are ads for Roots.

This campaign marks a notable change for the company, away from the traditional images of the symphony in all its white-tailed glory.

‘Graphically, we are aiming at a younger audience,’ says Buckland. ‘We hope to attract people outside of our core audience and that means that we hope to reach the 35-year-old as well as the 45-year-old.’

In a city where entertainment choices are virtually unlimited, Buckland wanted to make sure that the new campaign was attention-grabbing. Beyond the print run, support will include what he expects to be a fairly extensive radio campaign.

And while much of the music has its roots in the old, brand-new technology will certainly play a role in the symphony’s reaching new crescendos in the future. Buckland says over 80% of the symphony’s online ticket sales for both this and last season were to customers who had never been to the symphony before. Of their Web site Buckland says, ‘I think it is already proving to be a powerful way to attract new audiences.’