The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday April 14th

Ballet’s ?ery logo evocative of its energy

Advertising for CPA and Rite of Spring on Chapel Hill Transit Buses.
Buy Photos Advertising for CPA and Rite of Spring on Chapel Hill Transit Buses.

Carolina Performing Arts has started a fiery campaign.

“The Rite of Spring at 100” — CPA’s centennial celebration of Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky’s ballet — merits its own marketing strategy, said Mark Nelson, director of marketing and communications for CPA.

By The Numbers

$6 million
CPA’s 2012-2013 season budget

$3 million
“Rite of Spring at 100” budget

“Rite of Spring at 100” marketing budget

95 percent
Ackland’s “Rite of Spring at 100” merchandise profit going to CPA

“We really consciously made the decision that it’s part of the season — but it’s a stand-alone event,” he said.

“It wouldn’t get the attention it deserves were it a sub-line under the regular season.”

“The Rite of Spring at 100” has its own logo, website and even its own Chapel Hill Transit bus.

The primary logo depicts an orange abstract sun that Nelson said can portray a circle of dancers with their arms flailing.

Nelson said the original performance of “The Rite of Spring” had many circular themes, and the marketing team wanted the logo to capture the show’s energy.

“We really felt this was going to be something to give the project a life,” he said.

The logo can be seen around campus, from a banner outside the FedEx Global Education Center to a section in the Ackland Museum Store.

The store sells “Rite of Spring at 100” related T-shirts, CDs, DVDs and books — and coffee mugs might be on the way, said Melinda Rittenhouse, assistant store manager.

“It’s just kind of having a face for those things in another environment,” Rittenhouse said.

Store manager Alice Southwick said a collaboration between Ackland Art Museum and CPA benefits both groups.

“We belong together,” she said. “What we do enhances the other.”

She said customers who come in for CPA merchandise might not have otherwise entered the store.

Nelson said a less traditional form of marketing — temporary tattoos of the series logo — was embraced by the CPA team.

“It’s just for kicks and hopefully gets someone to laugh for a second,” he said.

Nelson said more traditional audience members are drawn to traditional marketing, such as special brochures and a central website.

CPA reached out to advertising agency Rivers Agency to create a comprehensive website, The website includes photos, videos, history of the original performance and a lineup of the “Rite of Spring at 100” performances.

Sarah Owens, senior art director of the agency, said the historical background of the performance — filled with riots in response to the jarring music and choreography — inspired the website’s deep red background.

“It’s kind of violent,” Owens said. “We didn’t want it to be a bright red. …. We wanted it to be evocative.”

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