Is It Important to Use the Original Show Art For Familiar Shows?
I love it when you guys submit questions. It ends up generating some of the best Sold Out Run content because I’m addressing a specific question or need that someone has. (And if one person has a particular question, you know there are a lot of other people not asking it that would also like to know.)
Perfect example here. It never would have occurred to me to write about whether or not you should pay to use a well-known logo from a show or create your own version. Thankfully, Becky was not shy about asking:
Hi, love your site. I have a question for you. I am on the board of directors of a community theatre. We are having a marketing dilemma. We do 5 well known MainStage musicals throughout our season to bring in audience from our small town. Our marketing committee wants to recreate the logos for posters, etc. from these shows to save a little money. Shows are familiar, i.e.. Mary Poppins, Music Man, Aida, Anything Goes and Miracle on 34th St. We are in disagreement on this, some people think we should not change the logos, but go with those that people recognize. Any thoughts?
My gut reaction…
It’s certainly a trade off. You save a little money, but it means the marketing pieces using the show art will likely be a little less effective than they might have been with the “official” art. That means you’ll need to spend more marketing money elsewhere to recapture those lost sales, so you could make a case that it doesn’t really save you any money.
There may be cases where that’s the right call, but my gut reaction is: if you’re selecting popular shows like the ones you listed, you want to get the benefits of the familiarity the general public has with those shows. The owners of those shows have spent impressive amounts of time and money branding those shows, and I would want to piggyback on that branding by using the official art.
The more I think about it…
… the more certain I am. When people see your poster, you want them to think about how awesome the source material is… which is what the original art will do. You don’t want to create the impression that this is any way a sad imitation of the original work… which is what creating your own version of the art can oh so easily do.
The possible exception here is if you are creating show art for your entire season that carries consistent visual themes across all of your marketing pieces. Even that will be more effective, though, if you find ways to marry your visual elements and the original artwork together.
Creating your own version of the imagery for a well established show in an effort to save money seems to me like it will end up costing your more in the end.