Making The Rules Up Again

Making the headlines used to be the sign that you had come up with a marketing strategy that was both controversial and actionable, but people don’t read the headlines anymore. Now you want to be talked about. And preferably behind your back (in a good way). This is exactly what happened to The Book of Mormon today in a clever piece of advertising combining print and user-generated content in a new and VERY clever way.

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The Book of Mormon has finally made its way Down Under performing its first preview performance tonight and opening early next month at the Princess Theatre. But while this frenzy has whipped up some new fans into the mix, there are a group of loyal (and vocal) theatre lovers who have been waiting for this day for quite a while. And what better way to convey this passion for such a limited, finite product than through a bit of user-generated content used in a completely new way.

Appearing in today’s Herald Sun, The Book of Mormon took out a full page advert. For every other show that comes to town, this advertising space would have been filled with the show’s creative. A Mormon jumping in the air holding the infamous book. But that has been done time and time again. Done to the point where we are now bombarded with the show poster across social media, in print, online and through social media to the point where we no longer pay attention. No, this advertisement got rid of the traditional creative and relegated the necessary promotional ticket-purchasing information to the bottom of the page.

The advertisement is largely white except for a couple of comments by a seriously devoted fan, Casey. “Oh my f****** G** when is the Book of Mormon coming to Australia!?!” and a later comment “WHEN WILL THE F****** BOOK OF MORMON COME TO AUSTRALIA?! PLEAAASE.”

And there’s nothing like proving that you care about customer satisfaction when getting new customers on board because the show simply responded to these comments in print: “Performances begin tonight. F****** HAPPY NOW, CASEY!?!”

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This is incredibly clever advertising for the production. It shows the show’s irreverence. It gives audiences a taste of the humour they can expect from their (very steep) tickets. And, most importantly, it makes you look twice at the advert and then talk to everyone you see today about it. And that is more important than securing the advertising headline anyway.

Unfortunately this isn’t a style of advertising that we see often as The Book of Mormon really doesn’t need to worry about selling tickets in Australia at this stage. That means that the producers are happier to try more outlandish marketing strategies and break the norm. But the ironic thing is, this style of advertising would probably help a struggling show more than it is helping this production.

The Book of Mormon may not be worried about selling tickets right now, but that doesn’t mean you need to be ultra conservative when you are. Look at who you want to attract and, rather than hitting them over the head with the same creative, look at a new way to not only attract their attention but get them talking as well!

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