I’m a celebrity, so see this show.

A few weeks ago, our President urged citizens to buy cars.  American cars.

And guess what?

The day after the speech, Chrysler sold more cars.

The endorsement is an age-old advertising trick that takes advantage of the Cialdini-styled social proof in all of us.  Put a well respected politician, athlete, or doctor, etc. right next to a product, and let the influence take over.  Tiger Woods appears in ads for Accenture.  Jared, the miracle dieter, sold Subway sandwiches.  And Bob Dole pitched for Viagra.

It works.  Don’t you want to be like Mike?  Just wear these sneakers!  Want skin like Scarlett’s?  Use this make-up.

Want to #$@ like Bob Dole?  (Ok, I just threw up in my mouth.)

If endorsements work so well, why haven’t we seen more of them in the theater?

Could an email blast from Stephen Sondheim help sell a struggling new show by an up and coming composer?  Could a TV commercial with Kristin Chenoweth sell a musical comedy?

What about Nathan Lane and Faith Prince selling the new Guys and Dolls revival?

Would the expense of the endorsement be worth it?  Could we afford it?

There’s only one way to find out.  And it wouldn’t even have to be the President for me to pay for it.

– – – – –

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  • Eric says:

    Unfortunately, you’d probably never get an email blast from Sondheim about any show…
    When he visited IU, I had the one and only chance in my lifetime to ask the man a question directly, and it was: “How much, if at all, do you track the newest wave of songwriters in New York, and does anyone stand out to you?”
    His reply: “I make it a point not to talk about living writers.”
    I have the distinction of asking the one question that day he declined to answer. @#*!^
    Anyway, as much as I understand his position, I join you in wondering what effect his word of support would have (my guess would be HUGE… which is probably why doesn’t do it).
    I would be interested to see how an endorsement campaign for a show would work — somewhere between the campy “I <3 NY" commercials of the 80s and the homemade celebrity testimonials from [title of show], perhaps?

  • Pepe says:

    Our big problem with Theatre is that its local. You can buy a car, viagra and acne products everywhere in the country. However, its hard to sell a product that only a very restricted area can actually buy (even if you convince the whole country on TV). Remember that huge broadway star commercial after 9/11? I think that is what Broadway needs, overall for now, more than show specific. Convince people to visit NY just for the shows.

  • Tim says:

    Well for what it’s worth, you made me consider getting an iPhone. I didn’t, but I considered it which is saying a lot because while I’m not an anti-mac guy, I usually find apple ads repellant. Your commercial not only resonated with me because not only was I like “Son of a bitch, a theatre producer! They’re speaking to ME. Brilliant!” but it did introduce me to “My First Time” which was also clever marketing.

  • AVB says:

    Books get blurbs and intros from other, more famous authors and personalities. Movies get endorsed by directors and actors. The I Love NY campaign from the Mayor’s Office for Film & TV. Obama’s equivalent of the “fireside chats” with his election campaign text messages. Why not the same for theater? Talk backs, roundtables, YouTube testimonials, emails, Twittering, blogging, texting. There’s a ton of free stuff out there that will reach audiences of all demographics.
    Bootstrapping for the real world, the web 2.0 (soon to be 3.0) world and beyond.

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