Can an ad agency market opera as successfully as packaged goods or beer?
M&C Saatchi, London, hopes to answer that question when it launches an arts marketing division this month, chaired by partner David Kershaw. The shop will offer services on a project basis, an approach that Kershaw hopes will make the endeavor affordable to arts organizations and profitable for the agency.
Changes in British funding laws have put many institutions in the red. The arts "need more and broader audiences," said Kershaw. In the U.S., where cultural groups receive most of their operating monies from the public, arts marketing is already sophisticated; but, Kershaw said, "London is a bit behind We hope to break down the barriers that make people think the arts are too elite or upscale."
Judy Grahame, formerly the Royal Opera House's marketing director, will be chief executive of M&C Saatchi Arts. If the unit does well, it may open in the U.S.