Marketing your musical in the new era (and the importance of a good tagline).
Joanna Syiek (Director)
Carving out your own little space in the entertainment-dense marketplace is tough, but it's also one of the few places where less is more. Attention spans are ever-dwindling, fewer people are leaving the comfort of home and marketing has to keep pace.
Working on Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson got me thinking recently about the brilliance of the show's effective and eye-catching tagline: "History just got all sexypants." Five words that accurately cue you in that this musical will be based in truth but most likely features a twist. A very sexy twist.
And while the show liberally embellishes the facts from time to time, most of the surprising and sexy moments in the show are based on facts. (Here's a fun one that didn't make it into the script: did you know that when Jackson was wounded in battle and part of his bone splintered off, he sent it home to Rachel who slept with it under her pillow for a number of years? TRUE LOVE.) But it's not the only show that captured its essence in a few short words.
Ever wonder why a show sounds particularly compelling? Look no further than the ad agencies of the Great White Way. I've always found their job to be particularly interesting because, unlike a campaign for a regular consumer good, they are charged with the task of paring down a musical or play (chock full o' themes, significant moments and hopefully a memorable song or two) into maybe a sentence.
To see if they've done their job right, let's see if you can identify the shows below. Time to play name that tagline!
There's only one singular sensation
A Chorus Line
A Hollywood Story
An appalling notion, fully realized
The neverland you never knew
Peter and the Starcatchers
The musical that's just like the city itself, so nice they named it twice
Remember your first time
Phantom of The Opera
(Answers below each one, highlight to reveal)
Some are clever play-on-words, others rely on nostalgia, while some were perhaps more difficult to place. Yet, all employ brevity at its finest. The hipsters of the Twitter age, these marketing minds were finding ways spread their message in 140 characters or less long before the world went shorthand.
JOANNA SYIEK is a Los Angeles-based music junkie with a penchant for long road trips, original theatre work, clean graphic design, and really good Indian food. She directs around the City of Angels and writes about nourishing creativity, Broadway favorites, and talent obsessions over on her blogging home. www.thoughtsontheatre.wordpress.com
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