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Folkoperan – Broccoli vs Opera (2020)

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Synopsis

Opera is not massively popular with kids. Who knew? In order to try to get families through the door to their opera adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s creepy family film ‘Coraline’, Stockholm opera house Folkoperan got experimental. The idea here is:

“Kids hate opera, but they hate broccoli even more — maybe if we present them as an artificial choice, opera won’t seem so bad!”

Review

We generally like anything that’s a bit ‘outside the box’. This is way out, and yet…

Let’s start with what does work. It’s a big, bold idea that you won’t forget in a hurry. I can only assume that if I were a Swedish parent (I’m not), I would think of opera every time I saw broccoli for at least a year to come. So that’s a win. We also enjoyed the look of the video, particularly the guerrilla marketing clips — which looked to be a fun, nicely executed physical advertising campaign (assuming it wasn’t just for the camera…).

Sadly, it’s just not that funny. In particular, that “low hanging fruit” gag is…painful. Broccoli isn’t fruit!? We can’t tell if it’s meant to be a meta gag about rubbish puns, but either way, it’s not landing.

In fact, our favourite joke is actually hidden away in the YouTube video description:

‘Tickets to Coraline available at www.folkoperan.se
(Broccoli available at your local grocery store.)’

However, our main gripe is that the specific opera being advertised hasn’t been incorporated into the ad at all, save for the logo flashing up at the end. Coraline is a hugely popular family film, which suggests kids would be legitimately interested in going to see it, if only you showed them how cool it is. Combine that with the broccoli thing, if you must — but we can’t help but feel that a fantasy story about a girl who enters another parallel world and encounters an uncanny ‘other mother’ is somehow more believable than the artificial choice we’re presented with here.

It’s a stick-in-your-head-for-months stunt, certainly. A funny ad? Not really. And an effective one? We guess they’ll find out.

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