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3 Things You Might Not Know About the Paris Opéra

The Hidden Marketing Mastery

#Influencer marketing strategies #Brand authenticity #Consumer engagement #Digital advertising solutions #Strategic brand communication #Authentic marketing campaigns #opera garnier
February 29, 2024

On the 3rd of March, 1671, the Paris Opéra opened its doors for the first time, with a performance of Pomone by composer Robert Cambert.

The Paris Opéra Ballet is a French ballet company, the oldest national ballet company and one of the most venerable institutions in the world. The Paris Opéra was established as Académie Royale de Musique under a patent granted by Louis XIV in 1669.

From 1875 until 1990, the opera made its home in the Théâtre Nationale de l’Opéra, an iconic edifice better recognized as the Opéra. Charles Garnier's architectural masterpiece, the Paris Opera, became a cultural cathedral, showcasing over 400 annual performances of opera, dance, and music, and solidifying its reputation as a center of artistic innovation and excellence.


At the Paris Opéra House the success of performances wasn't left to chance.
By 1831, the Paris Opéra House faced a challenge moment in its history. The dynamics of audience demographics were shifting, reflecting broader changes in society and the increasing significance of opera as a cultural and social institution. The institution found itself at a crossroads, navigating the delicate balance between artistic integrity and the evolving expectations of its audience

Strategic Audience Engagement

In response to the challenges of audience engagement, the Paris Opéra House adopted an innovative strategy and employed a group of professional applauders known as the " opera claquers" to influence audience reactions.

This group, led by August Levasseur, was skilled in orchestrating applause, tears, and laughter at strategic moments during performances, essentially acting as a second conductor to guide the audience's response. Levasseur, known for his commanding presence, would meticulously plan the claque's actions in consultation with the directors to amplify the impact of certain scenes or performances.

The Power of Perception in Success

It wasn't just the grandeur of operatic performances that captivated audiences, it was also the strategic use of a group known as the "claque," professional applauders employed to sway public opinion and enhance the theatrical experience.

This practice underscores a fundamental marketing principle: perception can significantly impact success.

Imagine the scene: within the opulent walls of the Paris Opéra House, among the genuine opera aficionados, sat the claque, a covert group whose enthusiastic applause and calculated emotional responses were not spontaneous but meticulously planned. This manipulation of audience reactions didn't detract from the art; rather, it played a crucial role in its presentation and reception, teaching us that the packaging and presentation of any product or experience are as critical as the quality itself.

Understanding Your Audience

August Levasseur, the mastermind behind the claque, personified the essence of marketing wisdom: know your audience.

By keenly analyzing both the performance and its viewers, he directed the claque's reactions to underscore moments that might have otherwise gone unnoticed, thus ensuring each show received what seemed like universal acclaim.
This not only guaranteed immediate applause but also helped cement the opera's reputation as a must-see event, demonstrating the timeless lesson that audience perception can make or break a product.

The Evolution of Marketing Influence

The "claque," a group of professional applauders hired to sway public opinion at the Paris Opera, exemplifies early efforts to manipulate audience perceptions for the sake of entertainment success. From the era of the Paris Opéra's "claque" to today's digital influencer the principles are the strategic role in shaping consumer behavior and preferences.

Just as the claque's applause could sway public opinion in the opera house, online reviews, social media endorsements, and influencer marketing can significantly influence purchase decisions.

Modern Marketing

In modern marketing, influencers are the direct descendants of the claque, utilizing their platforms to impact purchasing decisions across various sectors.

Influencers range from celebrities and reality TV stars to social media personalities, each wielding significant influence over their followers' choices. McKinsey highlights the diversity of influencers, including animals and AI-generated figures like Lil Miquela, indicating the breadth of influencer marketing's reach. This variety underscores the strategy's adaptability and its power to engage with a wide range of audiences through authentic and relatable content.
The types of influencers, as detailed by Aspire, span from nano to mega influencers, with each category having its unique impact and audience reach.

For further insights:
- McKinsey's analysis on influencer marketing 
Aspire's overview of the evolution of influencer marketing 
Intellifluence's perspective on modern marketing with influencers 
- Britannica

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