When you read Lewis Lazare each morning as I do, you begin to see patterns emerge. And they’re not exclusive to the man’s take on the ad business. He tends to weave in quite a few stories about high culture, mainly of the theatre variety. Today he turns his attention to the symphony.
Ravinia Festival President and CEO Welz Kauffman began his career in the classical music business as a copywriter in the Los Angeles Philharmonic marketing department. One of his sobering realizations about classical music marketing, however, is that all the glorious descriptives a gifted copywriter can use to sell the music aren’t really as effective a tool as the music itself.
That is why the Ravinia Festival, on the pastoral southern edge of Highland Park, is making a dramatic addition to its marketing initiatives for the 2006 summer season. Tucked inside each of the hundreds of thousands of elaborate Ravinia season brochures that will begin hitting local mailboxes this weekend is a compact disc sampler featuring more than 52 minutes of excerpts from works the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform over the course of the summer at Ravinia.
Kauffman isn’t relying on the new compact disc marketing tactic to solve all of his problems with the CSO concerts. This season he’s also scheduling more CSO concerts midweek rather than just on back-to-back weekend nights and mixing up the times and venues at Ravinia. He’s also encouraging Ravinia regulars to bring several uninitiated friends along and is offering them incentives to do so, part of what is billed as a “Full House” program.
Lazare is a Dartmouth educated aesthete. What is this poor man doing analyzing advertising for a living? It’s so coarse. So common.