Wednesday, 28 April 2010
sydney opera house does branded content
When a colleague invited me to an 'opening night at the Sydney Opera House Studio', of course I was tempted. Given that in the past year or so I've seen some incredible acts perform, including Irish chanteuse Camille O'Sullivan, the irrepressible Alan Cumming and more, odds were that even though I didn't know what the show was actually about, it was bound to be good.
Throw in the fact that I was told the title included the tagline 'Beer is Proof that God Wants us to be Happy' ..and I was sold.
Now don't get me wrong. I like beer. I like learning about it, drinking it and hearing about it. But when it became apparent that the 'performance', (as it is billed on the SOH website), turned out to be a glorified guided tasting, predominantly by the sponsored beer company's booze and a Desperate Housewives intro-style voiceover video...my expectations for the rest of the night took a dip.
Add a few frock changes by the host - self acclaimed Beer Diva (suppose it sounds a lot better than 'wench'), most males might have been captive (hot cougar, beer = awesome), but like the lambic-style beer tried on first, it kind of left a sour taste in the mouth.
Hands up, who felt tricked this evening. Instead of an night of enjoyable theatre, I got some free beer and a informational video I could have downloaded from youtube.
While I'm aware that SOH venues can be hired out for corporate events (a necessary part of venue life), and I'm more than aware of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to branded content marketing, this particular example came out more than a little contrived:
The "performance program" = a glossy DL advertising the sponsors and the singer and pianist mere foils for a screened video and a few bottles of the bubbly stuff. Doesn't quite fit the "A night at the theatre like never before" sell on the website, does it. Or maybe it does. I can't tell, I'm a little distracted by the fact that I'm choking on a beer coaster.
Call a 'spade' a 'spade', make it free (this event costs $55 for punters) or at least be clever enough to make everyone think it's a hoe, I say.
Image from the SOH website.