The Broadway Cage Match is on!
If you picked up a print copy of the NY Times on Sunday, you probably saw more prints ads for Broadway shows than you have in the last year.
Full pages, Double Trucks (which are two full pages, side by side), and a whole lot more made the A&L section a heck of a lot fatter than it has been in recent months.
The Broadway Cage Match started last week!
The announcement of the Tony Nominations is like the ring of the Round 1 Bell for all the shows that get nominated. The next day they come up fighting for those awards. Their weapons? Not their fists (although I do know one producer who went to fisticuffs with another producer over whose show was most likely to win) . . . but with advertising instead.
It has become very common for Producers to try to influence the minds of the 800 or so Tony Voters out there through ads in places where they hang out.
That’s why you saw Double Trucks in the NY Times. And that’s why you’ll see more ads in Playbill (Voters are seeing lots of shows this month), and even in the unfortunately fading Variety. Heck, I’m surprised no one has offered to buy the walls of Joe Allen’s.
Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars will go into trying to sway those few hundred folks (and actually, while there may be 800 total voters, the # who actually votes is significantly less).
Maybe. If you’re in a horse race for one of the big prizes, the right impression that your show is a big hit and got great reviews could be what you need to tip the trophy in your favor.
But if you’re not in the horse race? If you’re in 3rd or 4th or 5th position, most likely you’re tossing good money after bad, and the only winners there are going to be in that situation are the NY Times and your ad agency.
See, there are two strategies to multiple-man cage match fighting. If you’re big and strong and confident you’ve got a chance at kicking serious a$$, well, then you jump into the fray right away. Advertise it up and hope to take home some gold.
But if you’re objective, and you don’t think you’ve got the goods, then you might be safer to not enter the center of the ring at all. Stay by the ropes, let the others knock each other out by trying to outspend one another and you’ll be left standing with a lot more in your reserves.
It may not be the most glamorous way to fight . . . but it might be the only way to survive.
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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.