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Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Rush Hour poster series

Out-of-Home Ads, Entertainment

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra had a smart idea: a series of one-hour concerts, called “Rush Hour,” intended to make classical music more accessible. The philharmonic wanted Rush Hour to appeal to a younger audience, and Calgary-based ad agency Wax knew that the key was to communicate that classical music doesn’t have to be boring—or even worse, boring and long. The posters went up in downtown Calgary, where a younger audience would run across them in their daily lives. Anywhere you'd find a poster for a local indie band, you'd find a poster for Rush Hour. Companion ads also ran in the local arts and music paper, where the target audience would be sure to see them. The creative strategy was two-fold: it used the visual language of the typical gig poster to engage with a young crowd, and also added headlines that deflate the balloon of pretentiousness that surrounds classical music. The posters show that while the music is serious, the attitude around this concert series isn’t (you can even have a beer during the show!). The ads clearly hit the right note—ticket sales are up over 30 percent from the previous year.

Brad Connell/Hans Thiessen, art directors; Chris Lihou, writer; Monique Gamache, design director; Trent Burton, creative director; Delicious Design League, illustrator; WAX (Calgary, Canada), ad agency; Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, client.

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