The Playgoer: Department of "You're Not Helping"

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Department of "You're Not Helping"

First we had the well-intentioned nonprofit version of a clueless "yay-arts!" campaign from Americans for the Arts. Now meet the slick and supposedly hipper Broadway media blitz. Financial emergency version.



Have you seen this man around the streets of Manhattan?

I have, on every phone booth and poster board midtown. And he scares me! I don't know if it's the stubble or the frighteningly white and sharp teeth he is clearly baring in a primal gesture of attack.

The imperative capition, "see a show... NOW!" doesn't help either. (Und you vill enjoy it!)

On the other hand, this aggressive and threatening posture does indeed capture how I've felt after many a Broadway show.

Oh, I see. The point is to show people--real, non-elderly people--having just a darn good time at the theatre. The Broadway theatre, that is. This ad campaign is for the Broadway League--formerly known as the League of American Theaters and Producers--i.e. the Broadway producers' trade association. It's called "I Love NY Theater!"

They must have heard there's a recession on and folks may be wondering why they should be spending $100 a pop to sit in a tiny seat, fend off crowds of cranky alter-cockers with walkers, and sit through three hours of over-amplified piffle.

Well this'll surely sell them!



I would have thought it impossible to make theatre any less cool in our culture. So Broadway League: well played...

13 comments:

ian mackenzie said...

Yikes.

Uncle Vanya said...

$50mm in action!

Monica said...

I'm sure that the last time I had a facial expression like the guy in the picture you have posted, I was horrified that I spent so much on tickets on such schlock. I'm positive that I haven't laughed like that at a Broadway show.

Esther said...

Yeah, that is a pretty horrifying picture. If he sat down next to me, I'd move far, far away.

If I were doing the campaign, I'd keep the slogan but use pictures of diverse groups of couples, smiling and happy looking. That's my 2 cents!

Jason Grote said...

This is something of a metaphor for theater in general -- let's get a guy that looks JUST like Tom Cruise at his more frightening at the exact moment when America has just about lost interest in him.

Jason Grote said...

*most* frightening, excuse me.

Bob H. said...

Anyone know who the agency is that's doing this work?

Or who to contact at ilovetheatre.com to see if the account can be stolen?

John said...

Is "The Shining" coming to Broadway?

Anonymous said...

VERY scary. Would not want to sit near him, that's for sure.
But, Playgoer, as a theater-going senior citizen, may I politely request that you ease up on the slurs against old people, with walkers or otherwise? I understand that an audience that is not age-diverse is a problem -- a symptom, really, of the dullness of most commercial work. But that older people go to the plays is not the problem; the problem is that the plays don't draw younger people, too. (That's the fault of the plays, not the young people.) Anyway, please, no more old folks jokes.

Concerned Patron said...

Hear hear, Anon...

I don't know why we have to complain about seniors in the audience all the time, as if they are the ones driving the kids away... or as if there is any inherent virtue to being young in the first place. I've protested such miscaharacterizations more than once.

Advertisers like the 18-34 demographic. Don't forget that. Actors and writers like people who can pay attention.

Ken said...

Yeah, let's promote Broadway. Poor undernourished thing.

What is happening these days? Why are major media outlets suddenly getting Off- and Off-off Broadway amnesia? If it's not a campaign like this, it's Charles Isherwood announcing that there is some interesting theater--get this!--that can be found outside the midtown theater district! Holy shit, Charles, tell me more! I have never heard of this! And he is the main Off-Broadway reviewer at the most influential newspaper for theater. Does anyone have to be "reminded" to see Lion King or Mamma Mia?

Michael said...

This ad is an example of "showing your strategy."

But now that I see it, I realize suddenly - and to my chagrin - that I haven't laughed today. And I still have a $100 in pocket... Better start spending!

Shari said...

I am TAing an intro to theatre course now and having a hard time convincing my students that it is possible to find inexpensive (comparatively) tickets here in NYC. Even they don't seem to believe there is anything other than Broadway. It's sad!

That said, I'm certain this advertisement would not convince them that they wanted to see a show. The video looks like it should be selling life insurance.