[title of post]

Having spent a long time involved with the theatre, I’m always interested in how shows and companies at every level promote themselves — especially here in New York where the theatre world is so skewed.  So I’ve really been enjoying the recent campaign for [title of show] which is opening on Broadway soon after successful off-b’way and festival runs.

The creators of the show, and the creators of the marketing and advertising, know exactly how to speak to the kind of person who is going to come see their musical.  (For that matter, the campaign creators may be the show creators.  Or maybe the very savvy producers?)

The direct mail piece starts with: “THANKS FOR OPENING THIS!  Since what you’re holding is technically called a ‘direct mailer’, we’ll be very DIRECT.”  If you’ve seen the show, you can hear any of the four cast members saying these words.

I wish I knew how to link directly to only one particular banner ad at Theatermania, because the one for [tos] was brilliant.

But the real gem here is the show’s official website (pardon the re-link).  These people get it.  This is how a show (or a regional theatre, hint hint) should be using the web.  I’ve been telling anyone who was willing to listen (and some who weren’t) that performing arts organizations need to be using the internet for community building, not as a newfangled additional broadcasting medium.  The [tos] cast has been running a blog since 2005 and they have been doing it in a genuine manner, talking about topics that are of interest to the people they want to connect with rather than just posting one thinly-veiled press release after another.

Whoever has been/is running the [tos] consumer interactions deserves praise on a lot of levels.

Aside, does anybody know if they are working with an agency now?  (hmm… I spot something I need to add to the list of industry questions…)  I’d be a little surprised, given the spirit of the show and the fact that their approach doesn’t seem to have changed from their festival days so much as it has scaled up a bit.  On the other hand, they are a Broadway show now… I’m sure they’ll be calling Serino Coyne soon just like everybody else

Which brings up my one nagging doubt: I worry that this is a case of an ad campaign doing everything right, but being based on the wrong marketing decision.

This is a small show about being small.  They have a whole song about preferring to be small but wonderful (something like: “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing”).  Their audience seemed to be mostly young theatre people and there was a definite insider vibe when I saw it off-b’way. 

Now they’re going to be in a theater that seats almost 1,000 people, charging over $100 for orchestra tickets ($200 for premium seats).  Insiders probably won’t be able to afford to see the show, at least not more than once, at least not at full price.  There seems to be little in the material to sell it to tourists.  WTF?  How are these economics going to work?

Ah well, I’m not a successful Broadway producer, so I have to assume the ones behind [title of show] know what they’re doing.  Maybe this is part of a larger strategy to get the show in position for regional productions.

Whatever, I hope they all do incredibly well.  It’s a great musical with a great campaign.

Besides, I was wrong earlier.  The show is not about being small.  It’s about dreaming big.


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