The ultimate Book of Mormon ad campaign.

Broadway MormonWhen The Book of Mormon was prepping for its first performance, a lot of folks thought the Mormon Church was prepping for a protest to take place outside the theater.

Many industry insiders expected picketing and heckling and maybe even a boycott or two.

But the first performance came and went and offended many . . . but there were no protests to be found.  And no real statements of outrage or anger from the Mormon Church either.

Then I noticed something happening around Times Square.

Ads for the church start popping up on billboards and phone kiosks.  Coincidence?  No way in Spooky-Mormon Hell Dream.

The Church knew that thousands of people were being exposed to their teachings (admittedly in a backhanded way), and that some might be curious to know more.

And they were right.  Heck, I even googled some of the Mormon history to understand what those planets were all about.

Their positive passive response was perfect.

Well, they just one-upped themselves.  Check out the image in this blog.  It’s of an ad they placed in the Chicago Playbill for . . . yep . . . The Book of Mormon.  If you can’t read it, it says, “You’ve seen the play.  Now read the book.”  (And the book they’re talking about is the real Book of Mormon.)  Rather than railing against the satirical juggernaut that is BOM, they decided to use its power to get people to learn more about what they really are.

Advertising isn’t effective when you’re on the defensive.  Don’t waste time trying to “protest” what you’re not.  Your show, your product, and yep, even your religion is more successfully marketed when you are what you are and are happy about it.


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  • Megan says:

    This is so true. I don’t care what religion you are, you have to admit, that was a great tactic they used. Well played Mormons!

  • Anna says:

    I worked on the team for the Minneapolis tour stop of BOM and the Church of Latter Day Saints placed three full-page 4c ads in our Playbill. The first ad is the one that you pictured above, but the other two have headlines that read “I’ve read the book.” and “The book is always better.” Good for them!

  • Ashley says:

    It’s always great when someone can have a sense of humor about their product. I think their lack of outrage and general good spirit about the whole thing has probably done more for them (and gotten more people talking/learning about them) than anything of the other stuff would have. We all just would have dismissed the protests as “those crazy Mormons!” but instead, we are all appreciating the cunning marketing. Good job!

  • Michael Dale says:

    In 1936 the Bolshoi Ballet Company, which was being spoofed in On Your Toes, had an ad in Playbill that said, “Only the great deserve the darts of satire.”

  • Barry Reszel says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Ken, and noted the same opening week in Chicago. Consider the probable response for shows titled, “You Qur’an But You Cannot Run,” “Wholly Moses,” “Steins vs. Palesteins,” or Jesus Christ the Musical.”

  • Sue says:

    Perhaps the producers should have printed up some copies of The Book of Arnold to sell in the lobby. Just for giggles.

  • Parnell says:

    I guess God really DID change his mind about black people. Now we’re being used to promote Mormonism!

  • Jesus says:

    As a Mormon I see this as partial fulfillment of the prophecy that everyone will hear the gospel, not necessarily accept it, but hear it , prior to Christ’s second coming.

  • Ed from CT says:

    Great post, Ken- thanks!

  • Stephen Buckle says:

    REVIEW, LONDON PRODUCTION 20th March 2013 matinee: Any controversy and interest ends with the title; this is another light entertainment musical for the Mars bar market, teens and over. Crude overuse of the ‘f’ word, sadly accepted nowadays as appropriate colloquial speech, does nothing to augment an unsophisticated script. Perhaps it went over my head? The Mormon Church may view this show as more of a promotion channel than throwing Christians to the lions. Being reminded that evil despots still roam our planet at-will, it does occur that perhaps we’d be no worse off than to follow Joseph Smith’s Mormonism. There are fun déjà vu moments of a Village People concert and thankfully the two lead males work their bottom off throughout to redeem the show: Loved the pop at O.J. A jolly God time was had by all and I left the theatre singing ‘Go West’, still as a boring standard Christian….

  • Stephen Buckle says:

    PS: I booked quite well in advance. Good seat in a side box, London price $42 ={;-0)

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