Ryan Zatcoff, TMU contributor and senior at Hofstra University
The 2011-2012 Broadway season is turning out to be a very impressive season with a wide range of theater to please different audiences. As a marketing major and avid theatergoer, it's difficult to not notice the advertising and marketing trends behind the current and up-coming Broadway productions. There are three productions in particular that have caught my eye in terms of innovative marketing strategies and marketing trends: Godspell, Seminar, and last season's Sister Act.
One of the first musical revivals I have attended this season is the first Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz's Godspell. Prior to seeing Godspell, I had noticed an advertisement around the city, as well as local train stations outside NYC. The advertisement was a simple poster. However, the poster is a perfect combination of old and new. The elements of the poster capture the essence of the original Godspell while adding new and fresh elements to capture a younger audience. Davenport Theatrical Enterprises, the marketing team behind Godspell, also was able to incorporate one of the most well known songs from the musical and combine it with social media! The lyrics are taken from "Day by Day" and are "To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly." These lyrics were then broken up and repurposed for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. When I first saw this, I found it to be highly original, and I felt an urge to find the show's social media accounts. Their website is also highly interactive and quite fun.
Another production I have recently seen is the new play Seminar by Theresa Rebeck, starring Alan Rickman. Obviously, one of the major aspects that attracted me to this production was Alan Rickman, as well as costar Lily Rabe, because I had only heard positive things about their past performances. I had also done some research to see how the marketing team behind Seminar, Serino/Coyne, was attracting an audience that wasn't familiar with the play's stars. In terms of social media, the Seminar Facebook page is very active and offers great insight into the play. There is also a great number of promotions and giveaways that are offered through their social media accounts. For instance, on opening night they were running an interactive trivia game for the fans as well as offering prizes.
Another musical, Sister Act, has recently re-branded, meaning they have completely changed their image. Their original logo and advertisements were similar to the ads running in London. These ads depicted cartoon nuns and had an older image. Now, their branding is much more current and reflects the brand image of the film. The original advertisement was smart in the sense that it was very clear that the musical was about singing nuns. However, the new branding may now attract a larger audience because of its current/younger logo but leaves more for interpretation. Sister Act has also reached a wider range of people through their television appearances which include Dancing with the Stars, The View, and more!
These three examples are certainly not the only Broadway productions following current marketing trends and creating innovative marketing strategies. However, I do believe that these productions have raised the standards. If there is anything I have learned through marketing and theater, it's that collaboration is key. The goals and strategies that these marketing teams have accomplished are very impressive and is the result of collaboration and strong marketing skills.
Quote of the Week -
"To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day…"
Stephen Schwartz, Godspell
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