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Since it’s launch in the seventies the opera house NO! (short for Norrlandsoperan) in Umeå has provided a venue for new and often experimental forms of music, dance and art. The repertoire is broad and contains everything from opera for babies to the classical works. But similar to other opera houses NO! struggled with the widely spread notion that the opera is meant for just a chosen few. Our mission was to speak to broader groups that traditionally don’t visit the opera and remind them that NO! provides something for everyone and by that attract more first time-visitors.
The people we tried to reach had never considered the opera as an alternative, and rather went to a bar, a restaurant or a hockey game instead. Going to a show at NO! would be a step far out of their comfort zone. We had to make them realize that NO! actually offered something that could relate to them and their life and challenge their notion that the opera was for somebody else. And if we wanted them to take the step to actually spend money on a ticket we would have to lower the threshold substantially and show them that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain in paying the opera a visit, at least once.
Our first action was to give the opera a new name. With a such positive and including message as we now where about to spread, NO! had to much of a negative tone we reasoned. So when the old sign was taken down for a touch up we replaced it with a bold new one that read YES! instead of NO! And when we were done, every logo we could find, in the physical world as well as in the digital, was changed to a version that said YES!
The campaign that followed took the positive theme further and tried to inspire more people to say YES! to what the opera had to offer. By taking on a challenge published at the operas website you could win a free ticket. To shout YES! in a library, bake a YES!-cake and say YES! to a marriage proposal where just some of the things we encouraged people to do. The participants documented their performances which generated inspiring and fun social media content.
Next step was too launch try out tickets, which had the same price as normal tickets but gave you the money back if the visit wouldn’t live up your expectations. The tickets where given unique names, for example ”Leave-in-the-break-if-you-think-it-sucks-ticket”.
The percentage of unique and new visitors to www.norrlandsoperan.se increased to 58% during the campaign period, which is 9% points higher than the normal annual average of 49%. We also saw an increase in activity on social media from men aged 18-24 by 6%, and women aged 18-24 by 5%. The total reach during the campaign for press, web, TV / Radio was about 2.22 million persons.
100% new visitors completed the challenge and picked up free tickets, and during the year that followed the campaign, the ticket sales increased by 9%.