This blog has been endorsed by Cameron Mackintosh.

I woke up yesterday morning to Senator McCain endorsing Mitt Romney for President (and I’m sure looking for a VP nod as well).  Since this is an election year, there will be more endorsements coming down the pike . . . for both parties.  Unions, celebrities and more.

But endorsements don’t only work well in politics.  Famous figures “endorse” all sorts of products all the time.  We’ve seen athletes act as pitch men and women for all sorts of products, from underwear to deodorant to jock itch cream.  We’ve seen TV stars in ads for watches, perfume and even Proactiv.

But we rarely see endorsements/spokespeople for Broadway shows.


Is it because it’s an “artistic” enterprise, and we don’t want to seem like we need that kind of hard sell, or is it because it’s hard to get people to stand up for something like a show (and we don’t have the kind of money to hire someone that could move the needle).

You tell me . . . what would sell a Broadway show to you  . . . seeing a simple moving headshot TV spot for a straight play, or listening to a celebrity or major NY figure talk about how they saw that show and they feel every New Yorker should see it too.

I’m not sure that I know the answer to this . . . but I certainly would love to see it tested.  And one thing I guarantee, it would be different.

And in a community where there are only three advertising agencies designing all the campaigns, it’s important that the media doesn’t become homogeneous.  And I got news for you . . . it’s not the agencys’ job to prevent that from happening.

It’s the Producer’s.

(BTW, Cameron Mackintosh didn’t really endorse this blog – but seeing that headline got your attention, didn’t it?)


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Lorenzo says:

    Isn’t that what newspaper reviews are? And why we quote them all over? (assuming they’re good, of course)

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    With today’s culture, maybe the Geico Gekko or Flo The Progressive Lady would mean more than a theatre figure who would look like just one insider helping another. Actually, your mention the other day of Kiosks selling tickets and souvenirs at airports was brilliant. I bet more people would stop at those than the one in Times Square Center.

  • Scott says:

    You had my attention before the headline… and thats because of consistently good content.
    I suspect some rough idea of your suggested tested marketing campaign can be gathered from the success and/or failure of the recent Metropolitan Opera’s TV campaign. Its a lot of celebrities praising the power of an evening at the Met.

  • I’m about to embark on writing my first celeb ad for a dating service.
    I’m thinking you could get a celeb for free if it’s a show that’s great but in danger of closing quickly. Of course, by that time, you might not have the money to buy ads.
    With all the big name stars in shows, couldn’t they get some of their friends to do it on the cheap?
    As to whether celeb endorsements would work for Broadway– Of course they would. People are people– as a group they behave the same way no matter what their interests. You just have to pick the right endorser– Kim Kardashian won’t attract the crowd you want for a Broadway show.
    People pay more attention to ads with celebrities– it wouldn’t have to be TV– it could just be print. And it would be so different from anything you see in the Times (if you used images of the celebrities, not just words) that readers would pay more attention to the ad. (And in the times, their first thought would be that said celebrity was coming to Broadway.)

  • Margie says:

    So why CAN’T you get some endorsements? You can ask actors, singers, Broadway stars from former and present shows — why not? Book authors ask for endorsements all the time. It’s a great idea, so JUST DO IT!

  • Kristopher says:

    With a celeb who is loved by both sides (theatre folk and tv folk) you could really break boundaries I feel. I suspect what could really sink that golf ball on the first swing lies in the message said personality would offer.
    Imagine Ellen DeGeneres sharing with the camera how personally effected she was by the characters in Normal Heart; or how powerful Memphis is. How about James Earl Jones telling how he left How to Succeed… with a smile, or describing the rush he got from seeing Godspell. And what actor do you know who wouldn’t do a spot in exchange for a pair of great seats and a chance to meet the cast? Not all, but many I’d think…
    Surely, I’ve set my sights high with the names mentioned above, but at least I didn’t play the Oprah card. The challenge is that you would need at least 15-20 seconds to be effective, and tv spots are by no means free…where there’s a will, there a way!

  • Mark says:

    This is a great point. An endorsement is nothing more than a positive “review” from a person of interest. BOM is in an amazing position based primarily on word-of-mouth endorsements. However, I have recently seen their TV spot where they posted the tweets of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Justin Timberlake.
    Brilliant marketing on the part of the BOM marketing staff on making sure that, not only the millions of followers of the aforementioned tweeters are aware of their enjoyment of the show, but that the rest of the televised audience is aware as well.

  • Randy says:

    “Book of Mormon,” which certainly doesn’t seem to even need TV ads at all yet, has been using celebrity quotes from Twitter (Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, Justin Timberlake, etc.). I was just talking with my wife about that this morning after seeing one of the spots during The Today Show – how does that work, exactly? The celebrities published an opinion on Twitter, so is it therefore considered fair game to use? Did they have to pay to use their name and blurb? It was put out there publicly in the first place so it seems like it could be a free endorsement, no?

  • Sean C. says:

    Isn’t that what Alicia Keys is doing Stickfly? She is both the Producer and the Original Music Composer. But if it was anyone but Alicia Keys would it get as much attention.
    Also you have Bette Midler’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert….well if I’m a fan of Bette and Bette produced this…then I should see it right?

  • Wally says:

    Don’t need Cameron’s endorsement to read your blog – it stands on its own! Keep up the great work!

  • I saw Daniel Radcliffe speak at the 92ndStY and he said that Jerusalem was the must-see play of the season. I bought a ticket the next day.

  • Cam says:

    The first thing that would motivate me to buy tickets would be that it was a topic of interest to me. Even if a famous person endorsed it I wouldn’t go see it if it didn’t interest me. I would still go even if the reviews were mixed. Next would be it’s accessability. How far do I have to travel, do I have enough time to plan a trip, save up enough money to go, etc. I have to admit that even a producer or director I like will get me to the performance.
    David Letterman endorses Broadway plays, musicals all of the time. It’s a good form of media for getting the public’s interest. We can find out what it’s about, get to see a little bit of it being performed, meet the actors, people behind the performance etc. When I saw Spiderman on David Letterman I thought wow! I’d love to see that musical and I see they made almost 3 million dollars last week.
    By the way Ken cudos to you too. I see you earned almost 1 million yourself.
    So when I finally make it to NYC, I’ll have more than one on my list to see. 😉

  • Laurent says:

    Lots of great comments! However, reading this blog reminded me of a major show that came in years ago. It wasn’t doing well and didn’t fare well with critics. At the time, the daytime talk show was Rosie. She went on and on about Titanic, bringing the cast on week after week. This set their returns thru the roof. A show that would have otherwise closed stayed open. And then the movie opened…pushing thousands to see the show! A show that may have closed in weeks, lasted 2 years, spawned a national tour, and many world wide productions. Yeah, the right celeb endorsement can help a show.

  • An honest ad for a show – but the points made above about most people being influenced by a celebrity are correct.

  • Henry says:

    When Neil Patrick Harris endorsed Sleep No More, it felt like the ultimate endorsement to me. The producers obviously knew that he had enjoyed his experience, but rather than simply ask him to tweet, they invited him back to perform for a night. This gave him a unique experience to talk about when he was co-hosting with Kelly Rippa. The producers managed to turn what might have been a passing reference into a captivating six-minute segment that came off as a rave review. I know that it made me want to go out and buy tickets again.

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