I’ve just been reading about Peroni’s contemporary opera initiative, Opera Di Peroni, which sounds an incredibly well put together project. I searched for reviews to get a better feel, which I found as a picture summary in The Guardian, and on the Bristol Culture website which said, ‘for most of the audience Opera di Peroni was an immersive re-imagining of Puccini’s work’, and that this audience ‘would not be watching opera if it was not for this innovative event.’ Surely, a compliment if there ever was one. They also commented “At times this did feel like being in the middle of one long advert, but the marketing push was subtle and the evening sophisticated, with an art form strange to many introduced in a stylish and accessible format.” http://www.bristol-culture.com/2013/03/29/review-opera-di-peroni-paintworks/. So far, so good.
The London performance, as reported in The London List, was slightly less embracing; ‘It should also be mentioned that despite Peroni being one of Europe’s hottest brands at the moment, its recognisable green bottles that are swigged, cheers-ed and raised throughout the scenes are a tad much. Hoxtonites get that Peroni is a fine brewskie.’ Maybe, this is just a bit of East London swagger, but ultimately begs the question: are commercial pressures so great that, even with such a well thought out and well- executed, authentic activation, it’s inevitable that people will always have to say “cheers” once too often?
I hope not. After all, the increasingly recognised media zeitgeist is to (constantly) create compelling content. Content that generates ‘views’ and is then widely ‘shared’. I’d argue that resisting the temptation to over-brand your content, however difficult this maybe, is becoming increasingly important. The trick is to create something useful*/wonderful*/inspiring* that your customers love*/appreciate*/need* (*delete as appropriate), with the brand as recognising provider or, perhaps, cultural gatekeeper. Brands should not try and own culture, but establish that they have an important part to play within it!