How about YOU pick the logo for my next Broadway show!

I’ve attended a lot of ad meetings in my couple of decades workin’ on The Great White Way, and they can be quite a party, let me tell you.

One show I worked on had about seventeen different types of Producers, from investment bankers to movie moguls to a dude who invented a household item you use everyday and probably say, “I wish I thought of that,” every time.  Add to that, a fleet of marketing teams and management teams who ranged from 19 years of age to one octogenarian.

With that kind of diversity, and the sheer number of people in the room, getting a consensus on a logo can be harder than getting a ticket to The Book of Mormon . . . on the day after Christmas . . . if Justin Timberlake and Barack Obama were starring.

But to me, even more interesting than the volume of people in the room and the diversity of those people. . . is the perspective of those people.

I remember being at a meeting a few years ago and as I sat back and listened to a heated argument about the shade of a certain logo’s background color (“More pink!  Less pink!  What about Pink-ish?”), I looked around the room and wondered, “When was the last time any of these folks actually paid for a theater ticket?”

See, the room was filled with Tony voters, people on opening night lists, and the upper echelon of the Broadway community.

Now, don’t get me wrong, a lot of the people in these rooms are super duper smart and have eons of experience in all sorts of businesses, including ours.

And their opinions mean a heck of a lot.

But because the majority of these folks in the room aren’t families of four from New Jersey that know what it’s like to pick out a show that the whole family will enjoy, a date when everyone can attend, a babysitter for the newborn, a place to eat and a place to park, etc., how can they really know what goes through that consumer’s mind when faced with our marketing materials?  (And by the way, I include me in this somewhat ignorant group.)

Sure, I have insight, experience, and so on.  But I’m just not the typical consumer.

That’s why it’s essential that I talk to typical consumers . . . so I can add their opinion to those heated arguments that take place during those ad meetings.

It was this epiphany years ago that got me using focus groups (and now, dial testing) on every single show I do.  I want to hear what the consumer thinks.  I want their voices heard.  I want them to help settle those arguments in those ad rooms.

And it was this epiphany that led me to today’s blog . . . which is me asking you to add your voice to my process . . . and help me pick the logo for Gettin’ The Band Back Together!

Gettin’ The Band Back Together, my new musical that debuted last year at George Street Playhouse, is on its way to Broadway.  And as I wait for the right theater to open up, I’m prepping all of the marketing materials and campaign now, so I can be ready when that call from a theater owner comes (because most likely it will come with less notice than I’d like).

We’re in the logo development phase now . . . and at our last meeting, a heated discussion started to break out about which of the several logos we were considering was right for the show.  And there wasn’t a consensus on what logo we wanted to use.

And that’s when I thought, “It’s time to ask actual consumers.”

Sure, we’re doing some controlled focus groups to help get more answers, but, since I know I have the smartest readers around, and since a lot of passionate theatergoers read this blog, I thought, “Why not ask you?”

That’s right, welcome to the first ever crowdsourced Broadway logo!

Or, as I like to think of it  . . . it’s the first ever online Broadway ad meeting!  🙂

Here’s how it’s going to work.  Click the link below to get to the official logo survey.  You’ll see three different logo treatments for the show.

Pick the logo that gets you most interested in buying a ticket.  Not the one that you think is the smartest or the prettiest.  Pick the one that if you saw it on a billboard or a website you’d say, “Oh, I’m intrigued by that.”  Oh, and don’t say none of them.  Pick the one that gets you the most.

And that’s it!  The survey will be open until 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, September 3rd.  After that, I’ll tally the results and announce the winner right here on this blog!  That will be the logo that we use to roll out the show.

Now, one disclaimer . . . the three images you are going to see are not “finished” art.  It costs a lot to develop finished logos for Broadway shows, which is why during the art development process, the ad agencies present you with “comps” or mock-ups of the general concept which will be more fully realized later.  So, when you see the logos in this survey, remember, they are not “done.”  You need to use your imagination to see what they will be.  Also, because they are not finished, after we announce the winning concept, we’ll probably make some more little tweaks here and there to get to the final art.  In other words, it will continue to “grow” a bit.

Ok?  Make sense?

Click here to vote for your favorite logo now!

And thanks for being a part of the first ever crowdsourced Broadway logo!

Vote today.


(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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  • senorvoce says:

    Who buys theater tickets based on the logo?

    Just put on a good show, don’t waste time and resources on unimportant items.

    • Michael C says:

      I bought tickets to see the original Broadway production of “Passion” based on the logo alone. I knew only that if the talent that went into creating the show was even close to the creativeness of the signage I was in for a treat. I loved “Passion” and would probably have missed it with a less impressive logo.

  • David Merrick Jr says:

    The real problem here is that none of those logos seem THAT appealing to a 45 year-old woman (maybe the couch guy?), the average theater-ticket buyer.

    “Who buys theater tickets based on the logo?”

    Ever hear of a little thing called Marketing? They say it’s kinda important in the life of a Broadway show, especially those that want to be, uh, successful.

    Heaven forbid.

    • Melissa Bell says:

      I am over 45 and the guy and the couch did not appeal to me, because it reminded me of the kind of guy I did not want in my life.

  • Sue Cohen says:

    That was a blast! Thanks for the chance to weigh in.

  • senorvoce says:

    The marketers think it’s important. It justifies their existence.

    Do you buy theater tickets based on a logo? Any product? How easily led are you?

    • Michael C says:

      I have avoided shows because their marketing (logo) looks cheap and slapped together and I assumed (right or wrong) that their production values would be similar. Did I miss good productions because of lousy marketing? Probably, but I’ve also see great shows whose marketing stirred enough interest to get me to purchase tickets. People purchase tickets for lots of reasons and anything that can be done to draw a positive image and (hopefully) increase ticket sales should be explored. And no, I’m not in advertising.

      • senorvoce says:

        Every show thinks they have good marketing. They hire “marketing” people, so they must be right.

        Somehow, that 4/5 losing stat holds true. Go figure.

  • David Merrick Jr says:

    Don’t be silly. It’s called Branding, and if you don’t understand that…well, you clearly don’t.

  • senorvoce says:

    Yeah, every Broadway show needs branding. Not paying customers, branding.

    Funny, 4 out of every 5 shows loses money. And so do their “brands”.

  • Okay. You are using the communication technology available today and trying to involve your “Blogees” and your investors in roles they probably are not fit to participate. But remember Sam Harris, Billy Rose, Florenz Ziegfeld, Rogers & Hammerstein, George Abbott, David Merrick, Hal Prince and a host of others, all had investors to answer to, but they were the ‘General Partner’. After some input from their very experienced and qualified advisers, they made the final decisions and no one but them got the credit. The big ship, Queen Mary, could not have been sailed by a committee. It needed a captain. Again after taking the advice of his officers, it was the captain alone that made the decisions, and he got all the credit. To my point. Why, out of mere vanity, are these investors entitled to be above the title as named producers and feel that they are allowed to have input in a specialized business, and what does anyone reading this blog have to lose in sounding off? Few, if any have any stake in your shows. Guess I wish the world could be run by strong people who don’t need the sanction and agreement from the many. Research be damned. It’s still a by the ‘gut’ business. —sjc

  • George says:

    In the book that Ken has recommended for ALL who fancy themselves “producers” a similar premise along the lines “Who would buy a Car – based on some Hot Chic standing in front of it???” And the marketing answer is that Hot Chics remain the most common – association – to be made commercially wiith cars (for which the intended market is “male” (or lesbian?))

    The Logo – as Ken says – STICKS with the Production more than a modern day “marriage” i.e. for Better or Worse, Richer or Poor, with Great Box or barely filling the seats,,,

    It IS the show Before/Durning and (hopefully) for a LONG Time after… it becomes the literal and subliminal “text” that will either bring people to the show, bring people back to the show… or keep popping up as a reminder that someone who – has not seen the show – should!

    I thought I was lucky for my first attempt when I hooked up with a marketing rep from the company I worked wanted to branch out from the “financials” (where there is ALWAYS the Company Logo and a Theme Logo and Typeface for a product) and offered to do the “marketing” for my play “soup to nuts”

    Well, I may have lost out on later benefits (like getting a Booking Agent) but she kept coming up with designs that had NOTHING to do with the Period, Style or would invoke the Era in and on which my play was based…

    She kept coming up with “contemporary” images… somewhat avante garde… like a hat and coat and no person inside (like some of that Frence Pop Art from the 50s) – I had her read the play – watch a Reading – look at image from the British Restoration circa 1770s and Nothing. I tried to explain that – fare from a dis-embodied “suit” – the Life and Times – of that time – celebrated Humanity and Geniuse and most of all Wit! I may as welll have been trying to convince a Rock Impresario that truly great singing does not need to be miked or mixed!

    So I did it myself and I think – in such matters – the Producer really MUST trust their own instincts – especially if the play came from their own inspiration – and put forth the Image, Calligraphy and Content that best reflects the Production – and STICK with it – because once it is out there – consistency becomes the main ingredient in the marketing strategy

    “New” Coke?


  • Melissa Bell says:

    I think Rock of Ages is a good example of a logo that works. It’s unique, legible and gives you an idea of the show–it looks like an album cover. A logo that didn’t work for me was “After Midnight.” It was illegible, over stylized and puzzling–what’s this about? Perhaps in their final attempt to save the show the producers simplified the font, but it still didn’t tell a story of Harlem during the Jazz age. Keep it simple, keep it clear.

  • Marlene says:

    Wow your readers/commenters are total downers. Come on guys! Play nice.
    As a young artist and business owner I think that this is a great idea! Branding and marketing IS everything before your show/product is released to the market. This blog post alone has already been a great marketing tool. Hell, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already intrigued with the show just by “casting my vote” on the logo. Good play, Ken.

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