English National Opera


Our work for the ENO has received such acclaim that the BBC used it to trail The Andrew Marr show. (Above: The poster for Berlioz’s ‘Benvenuto Cellini’, minus the copy.)

Until recently the English National Opera simply had to contend with the challenge of attracting new audiences to unorthodox productions of a complex art form, presented in English rather than the customary Italian. However more recently, reductions in public funding have placed even further pressure on the organisation to increase ticket sales.

Our main advertising challenge was to raise awareness of the ENO and the distinctive qualities of its major productions in a crowded advertising category, typified by posters produced using low quality stills imagery. Not surprisingly the second challenge was to improve the advertising production values on a limited budget.

Our approach was simple. We worked with the team at ENO to understand the ‘ENO’ness’ of each show, and then developed concepts that dramatised that character, whilst also giving a sense of what the visitor might actually see on stage during the opera.

For example, Otello is essentially about the mental disintergration of the lead character and the show was performed amongst architectural ruins. This fed directly into the creative execution you can see here below.

The Summer production of ‘Cose Fan Tutte’, was set in a funfair and had a distinctly pulp fiction feel about it and so we developed a print and digital campaign that focussed on the seaside kitsch of the show. To further evoke that feeling we enlisted the talents of the top book-jacket illustrator Gary Bloke.

To make the most of the budget we drew on the ENO in-house wardrobe, make-up and styling team.

In the space of a year we have produced approximately a campaign a month, continuing to unearth product truths and push creative and production standards.

The work:

(Click on an image to enter the slideshow.)