Could destination advertising work?

I was at the airport in Burbank, CA a few weeks ago (which is the best kept secret in airline travel to LA, by the way), and on my walk towards baggage claim, I noticed a lot of advertisements for . . .  Las Vegas.

Burbank airport must get a lot of travelers to Sin City, I thought, to justify ad after ad for the hotels, shows and restaurants of this vacation destination.

Since 65% of the Broadway audience depends on tourists visiting New York, could Broadway shows be helped by identifying the key states that send us the most traffic (California, Texas, Illinois) and advertising locally? Could we attempt to get a customer closer to a purchase decision before they get to the city (and before they face a lot more of our competition’s ads)?  And because these locations are outside of NYC, wouldn’t the media actually cost us less?

Shows have been advertising in in-flight magazines for years, and at the NY airports as well.  But as the NY market gets more and more cluttered with shows competing for the short-term attention of the customer, perhaps it’s time to try and get to them earlier.

Whether taking ads in or near airports in other cities would work totally depends on the cost of the media in those locations.  Without a doubt, you’re not going to be visible to as many potential customers as a billboard in NY, so the ad is less valuable . . . but with the amount of inventory available all over the country, perhaps there are deals to be made.

Or perhaps this shouldn’t be a specific show-driven campaign . . . perhaps it should be a Broadway campaign, with the goal of making sure that every person that gets on a plane, train or automobile on their way to NY takes in a show or two or three, during their stay.

To ensure our survival, we have to make sure Broadway is at the top of our customers’ minds.  Getting to them before our competitors do gives us a head start.


  • As someone who lives out of state but comes to the city quite often to catch theatre, I’d love if I saw marketing in my own region (DC Metro area).
    Though last weekend as I drove into the city on 295 there are two billboards advertising India, and my friends and I mocked them mericlessly, as who drives to NYC, sees a billboard, then decides to fly to India instead? But who knows – maybe that planted a seed and next year I’ll take a trip to India.

  • Ed from Connecticut says:

    Maybe this could make sense for the Off-Broadway shows to pool their (limited) resources and promote their shows- collectively- to the inbound tourists.
    E.g.- “It’s a whole New World just Off-Broadway at New World Stages. While visiting NY, see The 39 Steps, Avenue Q, The Temperamentals, White’s Lies, Naked Boys Singing!, The Gazillion Bubbles Show and ImaginOcean.” and list their website.

  • B Teasley says:

    The pooled resource idea is good. I’d investigate the jet ramps operated by Jet Blue (since JFK is their hub). Advertisements while you are standing in line to get on the plane.
    Maybe JetBlue would trial an in-flight “ask a New Yorker” performance – where a shill sings a Jet Blue song inflight and does 10 minutes of Q&A about New York, including plugs for shows.

  • Daniel Orama says:

    This is great insight. You certainly sparked some ideas. Thanks for always sharing and being available.

  • Casey B says:

    Completely different thinking than everyone else. Realizing something before everyone else and thinking how come no one else thought of this? You think just like me. Try it out for your shows (you produce) and see what happens.

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