[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.

Number One

I thought a good deal about what post number one should be.  In fact, I delayed writing post number one for a while, since I wanted to be sure I got it just right.  Which led me to think about launches of various sorts, and the nature of blogs, and their place in the current culture and in the current world of marketing/branding/PR, and where each of those worlds might be headed in the near future, and a number of other topics…

One thing I have to offer is a tendency to consider the connections.

But back to post number one, I briefly considered a long, carefully-honed, letter to the world (or at least to the world wide web) detailing every idea behind the creation of this blog and every idea for where it might go.

Then I came to my senses.

A blog “launch” is not like a product launch.  Unless you are already famous in some other sphere and are trading on that to jump instantly to million-DUV status, there is no point in worrying about making your first post extra-shiny.  The vast majority of people (of the relatively very small number of people who are likely to read your blog at all) will not read your first post first, if they ever read it.  Because (usually) a blog audience is built over time, as particular posts are served up as search results or as people tell their friends about you.  (Aside: you can, of course, market a blog to drive up traffic, but that’s not something I’ll be doing for this one.)

Number one should really be just the first step on the path.  It should be like all the other posts you’re going to do at about that same point in your b-life.  Most of all, it should be genuine.  At least, that’s my humble opinion.

So here’s number one.  I’m looking forward to number two.