Last year at this time, we officially launched our experiential offering, and the first anniversary is a perfect time to celebrate the great work happening all around us. We may not always label it as such, but Broadway has done some amazing experiential work in the last year. After all, we’re in the world’s most experiential industry, so it makes sense that we intuitively understand why experiences matter.
If you missed our Entertainment in Advertising event last year, then here’s the core idea:
Experiential marketing strengthens your ties to your core audience while cultivating new audiences – and quickly. It is proven to generate awareness, loyalty, and sales much faster than traditional advertising. Simply put, experiences (online and offline) sell tickets.
As we head into the crucial holiday season, these are five lessons from the past 12 months of experiential marketing on Broadway and around the city.
All the best,
SVP of Creative Strategy and Experiential Design
1. REWARD YOUR TRIBE
Loyalty is built by enriching fan experiences and rewarding them for their enthusiasm. Social media fervently embraced the Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child when an all-day wait for tickets was transformed into an event with refreshments and cast visits.
There’s always a celebration at Summer: The Donna Summer Musicalsince audiences are invited to a nightly afterparty next door. Attendance is so high that the party is now part of the production’s core marketing, with buzzy celebrity attendance boosting impressions.
2. BRING YOUR BRAND TO LIFE
When you reinforce your identity, you reassure patrons they want what you’re offering. The website for the edgy comedy The Lifespan of a Facttransforms direct calls to action into entertainment by letting fans read “fact checks” of the star’s bios. Each article provides both playful information and a link to the ticketing page.
After research revealed fans of Once On This Island love the show’s on-stage goats, the four-legged stars visited group sales agents at their offices. For the next three weeks, group sales radically increased.
3. INVITE PARTICIPATION
Everyone likes to feel included, and that idea can be used in your marketing, too. A small section of Be More Chill‘s front of house grew to dominate an entire hallway because of audience interactivity. In the spirit of the show, fans wrote the names of people who inspire or challenge them on sticky notes and stuck them on the wall. It became a sensation on social media and in mainstream media alike.
The Prom embraced the spirit of the Tony Awards by creating Tony-themed menus, photo booth signs, and ballots. A Playbill partnership helped this fun, interactive project reach viewing parties around the world.
4. MAKE AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
Emotional experiences have a long-lasting impact.The Band’s Visit showed its soul when the titular band played surprise concerts for fans, generating one of the production’s most-watched online videos.
Come From Away fans said the show inspired them to make a change. For a week in March, various audience members were given $100 to spend on a random act of kindness for a stranger. A partnership with AmEx, this initiative demonstrated that fans were being listened to.
5. HELP FANS CUSTOMIZE
The mobile guide for the New York Botanical Garden’s exhibit on Georgia O’Keeffe was designed by AKA and built with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. With immersive video and in-depth historical information, it allowed visitors to explore the wonders of Hawai’i without leaving New York. The exhibit runs through October and has already averaged thousands of visitors per month.
Music fans get closer to a beloved diva with the interactive timeline on the website for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.