White & Baldacci to Recast Washington Opera

ATLANTA The Washington Opera has chosen White & Baldacci to create a new image campaign.

The Herndon, Va., independent agency won the estimated $1 million account following a review against a handful of undisclosed contenders from Texas, Louisiana, New York and Virginia, sources said.

Trish Taylor Shuman, client director of marketing and audience services, said the performing arts company needs the agency to publicize its return to the newly renovated Kennedy Center Opera House.

“The new campaign will help us develop new audiences and expand our presence nationally and internationally,” said Placido Domingo, general director of the Washington Opera, in a statement.

Previous efforts were created in-house and were limited to direct mail and print ads aimed at existing subscribers and potential operagoers over 50.

The new work will link the powerful themes of traditional opera—lust, greed, ambition, betrayal—to Beltway insiders via the theme “Welcome to the most powerful lobby in Washington.” The tongue-in-cheek approach will target existing and younger audiences.

Like most arts organizations, the opera has been taxed by higher costs and stiffer competition from other area venues. In addition, ticket sales have been down due to the opera’s temporary relocation during the Kennedy Center’s renovation.

“We also need to make the opera accessible,” said Shuman. “It’s not a stuffy environment where you have to be monied or powerful to attend. We want to eliminate those barriers.”