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eyeball Helps Classical Music Go Mainstream with ‘Bachstock’ Campaign

eyeball reunites with New York’s WQXR 105.9 FM for its annual fall celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach with “Bachstock: 30 Days of Peace and Music.

This month, WQXR 105.9 FM, New York’s only classical station, brought back its annual celebration of beloved composers with “Bachstock: 30 Days of Peace and Music.” Honoring the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach, the month-long festival offers a variety of ways to explore the music, life and times of the legendary Baroque composer – both on and off the airwaves.

Continuing another tradition, WQXR tapped agency of record eyeball to execute a comprehensive branding and promotional campaign for the signature fall event. For the fourth consecutive year, eyeball was tasked with rewriting the rules for promoting classical music across a number of touch-points and channels, including:

  • A five-week wild posting campaign in New York City;
  • An animated TV spot;
  • Print signage and street-level art at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station’s public performance venue;
  • Digital advertising and merchandise design, from playful swag to custom-designed crayon boxes for kids. 

“Our composer festivals – concentrated doses of best-known classical composers – have quickly become WQXR’s most accessible gateway to classical music for new audiences,” said Thomas Hjelm, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, New York Public Radio, which includes WQXR. “eyeball’s creative, contemporary, and unexpected imagery – such as this year’s coupling of Bach with an icon of the ‘60s - are an indelible part of this celebration of and invitation to sample the stellar programming offered on 105.9 FM, on, and via the WQXR app.”

For the last three WQXR campaigns, eyeball took its creative cues from the featured composer’s personality – from the street art-inspired "Beethoven Awareness Month” (see "Obeythoven") to last year’s irreverent "Month of Mozart” (see "I AM A DEUS"). This year, eyeball drew inspiration from the spiritually nourishing and irresistibly hypnotic nature of Bach’s prolific body of liturgical compositions.

“We really wanted to play with the zeitgeist surrounding today's music festival scene, which led us to the idea of reinventing classic festival artwork. By interpreting the music of Bach through some of the visual cues of the psychedelic rock era, such as repetition and expansion, we were inspired to create imagery that feels both classic and very contemporary,” explains eyeball Executive Creative Director Alex Moulton.

The Bachstock original key art was created in-house at eyeball by Creative Director Mia Rockel using Adobe Illustrator. Branded with WQXR’s signature cyan, white and black palette, it draws inspiration from the illustrative style of late 60s and early 70s psychedelia and the iconic poster art of Peter Max, Wes Wilson and Stanley Mouse. The whimsical illustration features many hidden details, such as rows of horses comprising Bach’s wig, and French horns for his cufflinks.

“The composition that Mia created is so bold but also wonderfully subtle in its detailing, remarks Moulton. “There are layers of symbolic meaning built into it that perfectly capture Bach’s own imagination and attention to detail.”

Taking the psychedelic theme a step further, eyeball created animated treatments of the poster for New York public TV station WNET. Moulton calls them “uber trippy,” with rotating kaleidoscopic patterns that zoom in and out, quickly forming the final illustration.

Bachstock officially kicked off on November 1st, with WQXR presenting Bach’s greatest recordings on-air, as well as 24/7 online streams of his 1000+ catalogue of compositions.

WQXR’s newly re-launched app will also play a large part in the festival’s cross-promotion, including a special selection of on-demand Bach performances recorded in WQXR's studios; a playlist of Bach’s most energizing music to help runners get through the New York City Marathon; and a Bach pun-generator.

“Each year for the last four years, we challenge ourselves to top what has become a popular annual New York campaign,” concludes Moulton. “We were able to succeed once again with the support of great clients like WQXR. This annual collaboration is the highlight of our year with a brand we truly love.”

Source: eyeball

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.