Tuesday, August 18, 2009

live from Broadway! it's twittertainment!

The New York Times reports the first Broadway show playing simultaneously in theater and in the twitterverse. From May 12 to June 7, "Next to Normal" issued tweets during showtimes which appeared in the N2NBroadway twitter stream during pauses in onstage dialogue. The entire twitter performances can be viewed here.

What's exciting about this isn't only that it blasts open a new creative frontier (the 3 1/2 Wall?) but that it demonstrates that twittertainment can play a role in building audience. Before the twitter production began, the show sold $226,000 in tickets and filled 72 percent of its seats. The week it ended, the show made $363,000 and reached 99 percent of capacity, according to Broadway League. Some attribute the bump to Tony nominations. But as of this posting, the N2NBroadway feed has 572, 180 followers. Surely Janet Aguhob wasn't the only one who "saw the show because of the tweets...It was like Twitter was the appetizer and then I got the main course."

The idea of adapting the show for twitter was the brainchild of Situation Interactive, an online marketing and ad firm. According to the firm's president, Damian Bazadona, it successfully promoted the show without "banging someone over the head to say, 'Here's how to buy tickets'...The content itself was doing the selling for us."

Character posts were written by the show's playwright Brian Yorkey who was "skeptical when approached about adapting his play for thumb-typers, it sounded like 'a bit of a chore'." He soon took up the creative challenge, however, and began putting out tweets. Like the one during a scene when a manic wife is making sandwiches on the floor, from her humoring husband, "Do all wives end up sprawled on the floor making sandwiches for no one?"

Calling @BettyDraper.

(Thanks to @_EthelMerman for scoop from the dressing room)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention. I just wanted to point out that I was not the brain child of the campaign - it was the work of an entire team of folks at our agency and with the help of an amazing client. I am simply the front man talking about it. :)

Appreciate you mentioning us and the support for the campaign. It means a lot.

Rock on.

-damian bazadona

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Thanks for this generous comment, Damian. I'll update the post. Kudos to the team for the ingenuity of this concept. And to your client for the vision (and cojones) to implement it.