Pasadena Symphony’s new ad campaign lends an ear to the public


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Given the haystack of options folks have for spending their arts and entertainment dollars, how does a middling-sized orchestra go about boosting its chances of being the needle that gets noticed?

The Pasadena Symphony and Pops’ solution, debuting today on its website, via YouTube, at Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, and right here, is an ear made out of fiberglass surfboard material and standing more than 3 feet tall.


The marketing campaign featuring the oversize auditory orifice was hatched as a class project by the Agency@Art Center, a for-credit consortium of students at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design that functions as a pro bono advertising agency.

‘They took a look at what our symphony experience was, and what came across to them as something unique was the opportunity to really go in and listen and get away from the distractions of everything else,’ says Elizabeth Fieux, the orchestra’s marketing director.

That suggested the scenario of a young man in black suit and bow tie, seen brushing his teeth at home, then carefully swabbing out the big ear. He buckles it into its car seat, parks outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, takes a seat and holds the ear aloft to gather in every last note and overtone from the ‘Jupiter’ movement of Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets,’ which serves as the spot’s soundtrack (and is on the orchestra’s season-opening program, Oct. 24).

‘Pretty soon the ear is going to be a well-known commodity around Pasadena,’ says Fieux, who’s banking on it helping to turn concert tickets into a scarce commodity. The video isn’t all that’s planned for the ear. At the moment, Fieux says, Connie Wong, the student who fabricated it, and some of her colleagues are brainstorming ‘how to make the ear more durable’ so it can begin putting in personal appearances.

-- Mike Boehm