Toronto Symphony Orchestra

The Messiah

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1922 and performs a full slate of concerts each year at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall. Once of the highlights of the concert season is the TSO's production of Handel: Messiah, with multiple performances each December. However, the TSO's performance of Messiah saw lagging ticket sales in 2011. Numerous orchestral and choral groups also staged the Messiah, and in 2011 Toronto's Tafelmusik moved their annual Messiah performances to the newly opened Koerner Hall. Many TSO patrons chose to attend the Tafelmusik performance, in part to hear Tafelmusik's traditional instrumentation, but also to experience a concert in the new concert hall. Field Day was contracted in 2012 to help the TSO to compel patrons to return to the TSO's Messiah, and to attract new audiences to the performances. The campaign tagline and secondary messaging was aimed at attracting new attendees while still appealing to the TSO's core audience. The focus was on the sheer size of the production and the emotional impact of the combined orchestra and 140 voices of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The bold, vibrant design and positioning was also used to differentiate the TSO's Messiah from other productions and encourage consumers to rethink their opinion of the TSO's production. The new positioning and messaging helped to drive attendance from a 4-year low in 2011 to 96% of capacity in 2012 – an 8-year high.

Season Theme & Advertising

Subsequent to the 2012 Messiah campaign, the TSO contracted Field Day to redevelop its advertising approach and to develop the theme and advertising collateral for the 2014/15 season. The TSO had recently rebranded with a new logo, brand creative environment and colour palette. However, the new brand environment and muted colours failed to capture the emotion of the TSO experience, and the advertising template was restrictive. Field Day developed a new ad template that retained the angled facets of the brand environment but incorporated them in a way that allowed for greater use of colour, more drama and emotion, and greater flexibility. Field Day also developed messaging and visuals for each concert series that conveyed the emotional impact of the specific performance. The new advertising approach was an immediate success, with many concerts exceeding sales projections. Field Day subsequently developed the theme and marketing collateral for the 2014/15 season. The theme, "Music Speaks" addressed how music, more than any other art form, informs our emotional experiences. Music triggers memories of specific times and places. The 2014/15 season brochure told the stories of how the TSO speaks to each of us.

What we did:


Development of a compelling theme and messaging for the 2014/15 concert season.


Development of a new graphic framework based on the existing TSO logo, and development of unique imagery and messaging for each of the 2013/14 symphony performances.


Design and production of print and online advertising, out of home, direct mail, and the 2014/15 season brochure.