ROLE: EXECUTIVE Creative Director
Executive Creative Directors: Limore Shur, TJ McCormick
Creative Directors: Mia Rockel, Sara Huneke, Amilcar Gomes
For three years I worked with WQXR to establish a new brand voice that attracts a younger, more diverse audience to classical radio.
Our kickoff campaign celebrated "Beethoven Awareness Month" by flipping expectations and recasting the composer as a modern cultural icon. As the antidote to classical music being perceived as stodgy and elitist, the campaign began with street-level wild postings around NYC featuring an image inspired by Shepard Fairey's iconic graphic style and the words OBEY-THOVEN. I had worked with Shepard a few years prior, and he gave a magnanimous nod of approval, remarking to the New York Times, "of course I support classical music, and this homage to my work made me smile."
The campaign caught the attention of hundreds of blogs and pushed WQXR to the coveted #1 ratings slot among U.S. classical radio stations. New York Magazine’s tastemaking Approval Matrix positioned the campaign at the apex of “Highbrow/Brilliant.” The station was so happy with the campaign that they chose to run it again for the second annual Beethoven awareness month.
In our third year, we flipped the campaign once again and covered OBEYTHOVEN art with Mozart graffiti, which was then replaced with "I AM A DEUS." The I AM A DEUS campaign perfectly captured the composer's rebellious spirit while still delivering bold messaging for the WQXR brand. Along with wild postings, wall murals, digital banners and a local TV spot, we developed and managed an extensive social media campaign and launched the “Life with Wolfie” Tumblr, a fictional parenting blog penned by little Wolfgang's overbearing stage dad Leopold. Once again, WQXR received notice and praise from The New York Times and New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix.
For year four, we defied expectations again by reimagining J.S. Bach as a psychedelic rock god, underscoring the mind-expanding nature of his music. The campaign promoted a 30-day celebration of the father of western music, culminating in a 24-hour live performance of his complete organ works. We designed striking key art, filled with hidden details and references. This image became the basis for our wild postings, print signage, street art, digital ads, branded merchandise, and an animated TV spot. The campaign captured the imagination of many listeners, who responded with tremendous enthusiasm on Facebook and Twitter.
SELECT ON-AIR SPOTS
Transforming the Classics
Of the many initiatives we've created WQXR, this set of on-air brand spots is one my favorites. We were asked to remind listeners of the transformative power of classical music in New York City. Our solution was to weave together everyday sounds and transform them into recognizable classic orchestral pieces, literally "auto-tuning" the city.
I called on my longtime friend Flip Baber of JohnnyRandom to bring our concepts to life. Flip has many musical talents and a deep love of classical music, but it's his rare combination of synesthesia and perfect pitch that gives him an advantage over almost every other human I know for a project like this. His incredible attention to detail shows in pieces like "Jogging," which we wanted to take place in Springtime Central Park. Flip spent days researching bird migration to make sure that our educated audience wouldn't call us out on using the wrong songbirds to recreate Vivaldi's melody. Combining detailed field recordings with powerful new technology like Melodyne Editor, the pieces feel delightfully real.