Thursday, November 4, 2010

Opinion: Damian Bazadona on How Political Advertising Affects Theatrical Marketing

Via "You've Cott Mail," the daily arts e-mail from, a somewhat mistitled reflection by Bazadona on how to engage a prospective audience member (color highlighting by ALT):

Commentary: How political advertising impacts theatrical marketing

Posted by Damian Bazadona on, November 3, 2010

This election season exemplified one very simple thing for me - the effectiveness of advertising as we know it is on a one-way path to death. Political advertising has always been a messy canvas, but this year highlighted a major turning point. People have more access to information than ever before through online and social platforms that it baffles me that political advertisers stuck to the same playbook as years past. What does that mean for theatrical marketing? Like politics, there will be a whole lot of shows advertising at the same moment...very similar to politics, no? Show me an ad that doesn't say "best" or "award winning" of some kind (outside the top 5 grossing shows). Putting yourself in the consumer's shoes... how can 20 different shows be "best" or "award-winning" or a quote saying somehow they are the most incredible show on the planet... it just doesn't add up and I think we are seeing it at the box office. At the end of the day, despite all of the advertising that's done for Broadway, the best shows according to the people prevail - just take a look at the popular review sites like Yelp among others. The mediums may have shifted - but the industry remains unchanged when you look at the messaging. If this political season showed me anything it's that consumers are demanding some level of authenticity. Take a look at an interesting example of some research that hits on this topic from a slightly different perspective, looking at messaging through images on the web. According to the survey [ALT: as summarized in the NY Times,] "big, feel-good images that are purely decorative" are mostly ignored online, [and] stock photos are also disregarded. In contrast, when users know that a picture of a person is real they will engage for extended periods of time.

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