Reasons . . . to buy a ticket. production that seemed the most marketing-challenged this Spring was the transfer of reasons to be pretty, and playwright Neil Labute, to the big stage.

What were the reasons for a consumer to buy a ticket?  Especially in this market?

Well, unfortunately, as the grosses indicated since the show began previews, there weren’t many (although I expect that will change, after last night’s raves).

Faced with no stars and a play with little buzz, the marketers turned to the script, smartly using the subject of the play itself to fuel a conversation engine.

They started with an arresting ad campaign that used the image you see on this blog.  Hard not to take a second look, isn’t it?

They continued that theme through their online identity with a mini-documentary (with more arresting images) that plays on their site as soon as you sign on.  The name of the site, by the way . . .

Is the doc about the play?  The author?  The actors?  No.

Perhaps knowing that what they had to work with in those categories might not stack up against the other 184 plays opening this Spring, the marketers chose a different pitch.  And what they ended up with is more creative, more unique, more of a conversation piece . . . and more likely to keep people on the site longer (Goal #2 of Internet marketing – for the other 2 goals, see next week’s piece).

I know I’m much more interested in seeing it now, aren’t you?  And I’m not the only one.

When you’re coming up with your marketing plan for your shows, take a honest look at your assets.  If yours don’t stack up to the competition, don’t try and compete.  Figure out what makes you unique and push it like you’re out to make Salt ‘N Pepa proud.

There’s no guarantee it will work . . . but it’s best shot you’ve got.

(The only thing I’d do differently with their campaign?  Well, they had naked people in the ad.  They had naked people in their documentary.  I’d have naked people on the street.  Seriously, that street teamer below should not be wearing any clothes – more likely to get attention, and more likely to be recognized as being part of their campaign.  And those signs will cover the good stuff from being seen anyway.)


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.