The Drum Awards Marketing Case Study

Rose Design: Aida for English National Opera


By Awards Analyst, writer

June 7, 2018 | 85 min read


Our brief from English National Opera (ENO) was to create a successful advertising and marketing campaign, which captured and conveyed the essence of their unique production of Aida. Opera is generally perceived as elitist, expensive and sung in a foreign language. So, in addition to attracting existing opera lovers, ENO wanted to connect with new audiences who may not be familiar with opera, dispelling their misconceptions and making it seductive and accessible.

Creative response

Aida is the tragic tale of the eponymous heroine’s struggle between love and country. A polarity of choice reflected in the minimalism of the set, and our art direction for the campaign. A single shaft of light; the symbolism of triangles (referencing the Egyptian setting); black and white; all metaphors for the light and shade of the story and how Aida awaits her death, in a subterranean tomb.

The compelling story was also verbally articulated succinctly in each execution, ensuring audiences unfamiliar with the title, weren’t alienated. Likewise, in order to appeal to a new generation of opera goers, we clarified there were tickets available at every performance for as little as £12. The visual language of the campaign took on a deliberately epic and cinematic quality, to ignite interest in audiences who might not usually consider opera being for them. We also preceded the campaign with a teaser trailer, which aired in cinemas and online prior to the campaign launching in national press, a London and home-counties print and above-the-line campaign, in addition to a significant digital and online presence in younger-focused media channels, to further connect with first-time opera goers.


The resulting ticket sales for Aida were fantastic, attracting the biggest audience to an English National Opera Autumn production in 4 years. In addition to opera fans and aficionados attending, 44% of Aida's audience were first time opera goers.


Aida launched at the London Coliseum on 28 September 2017, running until 2 December.

Agency: Rose

Creative Director: Simon Elliott

Art Directors: Toby Edwards and Ali Boschen

Designers: Toby Edwards, Ali Boschen, Abbie Edis

Project Manager: Joanna Waclawski

Client: ENO

Director of Marketing and Audience Engagement: Carolyn Sims

Head of Marketing: Anthony Jarvis

Marketing Manager: Emma Mottram

Photographer: Jonathan Knowles

The Drum Awards Marketing Case Study

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