Marketing Urbanski

September 27, 2011
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No, we didn’t excavate to the back into the closet of a Corey Hart fan to find this t-shirt.

Urbanski-tshirt

That tinted fellow pictured isn’t an ‘80s pop singer at all.

It’s actually Krzystof Urbanski, Music Director for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Urbanski, whose four-year contract will carry him to the ripe old age of 32, has been the subject of an aggressive (for the Symphony) marketing campaign to help him achieve a kind of regional rock star status. You’ve seen him on billboards announcing the beginning of “The Urbanski Era.” And now, in the ISO gift shop, you’ll find these shirts sporting his youthful face.

Sure, you can pick up a Leonard Bernstein t-shirt here or a generic conductor shirt here. But putting the new guy on a shirt sets an interesting precedent in high-brow music marketing.

My question: Are you enjoy the way the ISO’s new baton-wielder is being marketed? And do you think these efforts will drive ticket sales and help find funders for the ISO?

Futher: How well-known is it possible for an arts person to be known in Indianapolis? I’d love for Indy to be a place where conductors, dancers, actors and artists are known to the general public. But is that possible?

Side note for trivia buffs: Urbanski was born the same year that Corey Hart recorded his hit “Sunglasses at Night.”

Side note for those who actually want to hear the music: Urbanski’s next performance with the ISO isn’t until March, when he’ll conduct “The Planets.”

Your thoughts?

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  • To answer your questions: yes and yes. Props to the ISO on a great campaign!
  • Yes, but...
    Best. Hair. Ever. (Yes, I'm jealous.) I like the billboards, but the ISO didn't do as well with the t-shirts, if this one is any indication. Boring. Take advantage of this guy's vitality (and his hair) and get some snazzier designs, ISO!
  • Indy's first...
    ...Baroque star?
  • Great for Younger Demo
    Urbanski-palooza is a great program that is forward thinking -- you have to capture the younger demo and psychographic if classical arts are going to survive. The trick is preserving the quality and legacy of the classics without dumbing down content and making it mediocre just to sell tix.
  • Urbanski
    The billboards have gotten me & some of my friends talking about him and the upcoming season. I'm hoping to catch a performance or two. I do have to agree with Bill on the t-shirts...pretty lame, they could so much better.
  • Downsize America
    Love the idea of the marketing efforts, but the photo is not appealing. Extra large t's for extra large Americans is not something to celebrate.
  • Billboards
    I love the billboards, but a bigger question is: why is he not conducting again until March? What does a music director do?
    • Great question Pasquale
      Glad you like the billboards Pasquale. Krzysztof has six weekends with the ISO in his first season (the last two weeks, two weeks in March and two weeks in May/June). When we selected Krzysztof as our new Music Director a year ago, he already had a full calendar of orchestra commitments this year, which is very typical for an emerging conductor. His conducting weekends will increase next season and the season after.
      • Tees = Not So Good
        Not so sure they have succeeded here.
      • Thanks
        Thanks so much for the reply, Jessica!!
      • lucky indianapolis!!!!!
        i had the good fortune to see our new concert master last friday nite. we are so lucky to have him right here in indy. i watched history being made as he not only is a our new rock star right here in our great city but he is the youngest one ever..i was memorized and i do feel everyone should atleast go once upon his return this year or the years to come. we must keep him here...!!!welcome to krystof it is an honor..i think the shirts are so cool by the way...!!!!deborah dorman

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      1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

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