Singing Out choir campaign reaches a climax

Who: Singing Out choir, with Publicis Toronto for strategy and creative.

What: “‘Oooooooout of Home,” a new awareness campaign promoting the Toronto LGBTQ+ choir, and its message of inclusivity and diversity that leans into the often orgasmic faces that singers make when performing.

When & Where: The GTA-focused campaign debuted on March 13, and is running for four weeks across out-of-home and radio.

Why: Singing Out is a non-auditioned, mixed-voice choir open to anyone who loves to sing. It has been operating since 1992, and describes itself as a “community where its members can be themselves freely with no judgement.”

The campaign comes at a time when 2SLGBTQ+ groups are being targeted, and it’s increasingly important for queer people to “take up space and
show our pride,” said Singing Out’s marketing director and vice-president, Noah Witenoff.

Witenoff said that success for the campaign would be for people to think of Singing Out when thinking of Toronto choirs. “After 30 years, people looking for an inclusive 2SLGBTQQIA+ choir should not have to wait to hear about us from a friend, or see a random Facebook mention,” he said. “We should be top of mind and synonymous with the place to go when looking to support an amazing, inclusive queer community that loves to sing!”

How: The creative approach is built on the core insight that singing is a unique experience that transcends boundaries and brings people together, regardless of background. According to Singing Out, people often experience a sense of euphoria that’s similar to that of an orgasm when singing, which is the basis of the campaign creative.

While “guitar face” is a well-documented phenomenon (and this remains an all-time favourite), this campaign suggests that “singing face” (words ours) is also a thing.

Publicis enlisted acclaimed Toronto photographer Matt Barnes, who has shot everyone from Meghan Markle and Orville Peck to Alan Thicke and Jeff Goldblum, to capture images of Singing Out members and the euphoric expressions on their faces as they sing. That message is further underscored by suggestive lines such as “Take Pleasure in it,” “Can you hit the G?” and “Come with Us.”

“When Publicis brought the creative to us, we laughed at its cheekiness. Because it’s true: when you sing, you really do make that face,” said Witenoff. “We had reservations at first because we didn’t want to over sexualize our members or make anyone in the choir feel uncomfortable. But as we shared the idea with our board and members, everyone felt comfortable and thought it was the perfect statement.

“It was important to us that the joke land correctly, which required pitch perfect, double entendre headlines, and just the right crop to the images, so the takeaway could go either way,” he added. “We’re so proud that every ‘model’ is an actual Singing Out choir member, who was honestly photographed singing their favourite song. Publicis and the photographer, Matt Barnes, just knew how to capture it on film.”

And we quote: “We believe in the power of creativity to make a positive impact on society. That is why we’re honoured to bring Singing Out’s message of acceptance and diversity to life through this playful and engaging campaign.” — Vini Dalvi, executive creative director, Publicis Toronto

Chris Powell