High Culture; a Thriving Market
10th October, 2013
Sponsorship of the arts and ‘high culture’ is a topic that has been vehemently discussed within the industry for years. Indeed, the industry is one that has been criticised for its choice of partners; see BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery and Shell’s long standing partnership with the Southbank Centre. Yet, controversy aside, high culture such as the opera, ballet and classical music has a deep rooted association with large corporates.
It seems, however, that the industry is changing. Over the past few years there has been an influx of new musicians that have begun to open younger generation’s eyes to high culture arts. Take for example, musicians such as Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, both of whom are classically trained, yet they appear time and time again on some of the UK’s most favoured music blogs. Furthermore, in 2011 BBC Radio 1’s DJ Greg James played Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni as part of the ‘study break’ feature. The reaction was hugely unexpected with the classical piece reaching number 28 in the Top 40 Chart.
There are also a number of more intimate events and concerts popping up across the country. Ruthless Jabiru is a successful classical orchestra composed and directed by Kelly Lovelady and is entirely made up of Australian musicians living in Britain. Ruthless Jabiru runs a combination of intimate and large events across the country, playing in venues such as Australia House, London and LSO St. Luke’s, and has been recognised for its ambassadorial work by Buckingham Palace.
In the ever more saturated festival market, some brands are beginning to look elsewhere for inspiration. Events such as those hosted by Ruthless Jabiru (see their up and coming event at Union Chapel Monday 14th October) are creating unique experiences for brands to interact with younger audiences.
Kelly Lovelady said, “Classical events like those of my own orchestra, Ruthless Jabiru, are a fantastic platform for brands to interact with consumers on a more intimate level. The passions associated with classical music in the distinctive and beautiful venues in which we perform can really create a unique experience for both brand and attendee.”
This shift in attitude is being helped by a development being seen in the events themselves, with classical artists adopting modern pieces and trading in traditional instruments for electric ones. In light of this shift within the market, Slingshot has compiled two examples of consumer brands partnering with high culture events.
Peugeot and Bond
As always there are of course brands ahead of the curve. The Peugeot and Bond (Bond, not James Bond) partnership is one of the first examples of a big name brand sponsoring classical music band. This was designed to differentiate themselves from other brands and connect with a young, mass market. As part of the sponsorship Bond, a female electric instrument quartet, created a mini album specifically for the Peugeot 308 CC adverts, this was then given away as a free download on the Peugeot website.
Siemens and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields
A different partnership to that of Peugeot and Bond, Siemens sponsorship of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields is a prime example of a partnership based on the wide and international audience of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields as well as classical music in general. The orchestra allowed Siemens to access the typical ABC1 demographic of higher culture arts whilst also providing access to a younger audience through young musicians like Joshua Bell who are part of the St Martin in the Fields Orchestra.