Anybody who thinks the Chicago Symphony Orchestra experience is meant for somebody else is in for a nice surprise. Mode Project, the Chicago-based design and production studio, is creating an eye-opening series of short videos for a digital ad campaign. The goal: Communicate the universal excitement and accessibility of Symphony Center to new audiences via social media.

“We want to grab people’s attention with strong visuals, minimal dialogue and powerful music. The narrative throughout the series shows how the CSO, which is renowned worldwide for its rich musical tradition, is also a colorful piece of the city’s own unique cultural fabric,” Mode Project Principal Colin Carter said.

The first three videos feature key elements of the series:

  • The Sound of a Beautiful Night Out evokes drama and joy in the CSO experience. Photos from CSO archives are put into motion with music and punctuated with accolades from prominent publications. The images flow to a crescendo of applause. (See the video below or at
  • Visit Symphony Center, Connect with Chicago follows musicians as they go to work, just like other Chicagoans. How do they get to Symphony Center? Practice, of course. But they also get there by foot, bike, train, scooter and other relatable ways. “Our music is for everybody,” the scooter-commuting horn player says in the voiceover. (See the video below or  at
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra by the Numbers is a showcase for impressive and fun CSO facts. Among them: founding year (1891), Grammys (62) and musical directors (Riccardo Muti is number 10). The motion graphics piece is playfully assembled with archival images, CSO typography and engaging orchestral-electronica music. (See the video below  at

Taking a thoughtfully integrated approach, Mode Project’s creative team is working with the CSO’s marketing strategists to ensure that the content reflects and extends the CSO brand. Notably, the CSO logo is given a fresh take with animated flourishes of color and motion.

Early results of the digital campaign, which launched in November 2018, are promising. In their first few months on the CSO’s Facebook and Instagram pages, the videos were viewed more than a million times. Many of these viewers clicked through to the CSO website, indicating a high level of engagement with potential new patrons.

“We want to show that the CSO experience is both exciting and approachable. In creating this series of videos, the Mode Project team synched perfectly with our marketing team­­—and the musicians—to tell our stories with just the right tone,” CSO Digital Content Editor Laura Emerick said.

“Plus, they've generated a lot of positive comments and feedback. To me, that's the most important gauge for success,” Emerick added.

The CSO’s new digital ad series builds on an established creative relationship between the CSO and Mode Project. It goes beyond past projects, which involved editing promotional videos, into executing a campaign that draws on Mode Project’s expertise in integrating animation and live action.

“We are thrilled to be asked to do something with a fresh, original approach for a brand that is so important to Chicago and the world,” Mode Project Executive Producer Tracy Heropkie said.