Content Is Advertising: Twitter On Broadway

from the tweet-the-play dept

We’ve talked a lot about how content is advertising, and we still get pushback from people who seem to think that we mean underhanded marketing or “product placement” is what we’re talking about. But that’s not it at all. We’re talking about how good content is almost always advertising for something, and it need not be explicit at all. A great example of this is this NY Times article looking at how the Broadway play Next to Normal successfully used Twitter to promote itself. Rather than just setting up a feed to hype up the play, or to announce discounts, they actually had the playwright adapt the play for Twitter. And, from there, they ran the adapted version on Twitter, which built up a huge following, while specifically choosing not to go with a hard sell.

But it appears to have worked. The number of Twitter followers has ballooned, and there’s been a nice correlation in ticket sales (admittedly, there may have been other factors as well, but there appears to be a lot of evidence that many attendees were drawn to it via the Twitter campaign). None of this was surreptitious. None of it involved “tricking” people. None of it involved “product placement.” All it involved was making good use of good content to draw more attention — and from there, people figured out what they wanted to buy. That’s the point of content as advertising, and it’s great to see it put to use so creatively.

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Comments on “Content Is Advertising: Twitter On Broadway”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Sort of nice try, but not really.

Have they made a full production video of the show and put it on youtube, maybe. But making an adapted version for twitter and tweeting it? That isn’t “content as advertising”, thats just advertising, like a movie trailer.

In the end, they didn’t give their content away as advertising.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

WHich is all nice, but it still isn’t “the content” just “a content”. An advertisement isn’t a movie, a 30 second commercial isn’t the superbowl (but some people do think it that way).

Advertisements can be entertaining and all that, and they are in their own way content. But in this case Mike is citing, the “content” on twitter is just like an ad, it isn’t the broadway show, it isn’t even a video of the broadway show, and isn’t even the text of the broadway show. It’s at best a clever ad for the broadway show.

Not all “content” is “the content”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yes, but the trailer isn’t THE content, It is a small subset, similar to a 10 or 15 segment of a song. It is the in store sample of a new packed food product, the sample size you get in the mail. It isn’t the content.

Again, Mike confuses the medium (tv, radio, magazines, twitter) with the message. Stripping away the medium, you get “broadway produced trailer to promote their new show”, nothing more and nothing less.

Steven (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You seem to think there is some magical difference between THE content and content. There isn’t. The Broadway show is content, but it is also advertisement for the actors and director’s abilities. The twitter adaptation is content, but it is also advertisement for the Broadway play and again the director’s abilities. There is no special THE content, it’s all just content. If it’s good people will tune in, and then seek more.

p0ps (profile) says:

What is not content?

Content of the highest quality can be seen as advertising for other work by the same producers. Public expression seeks an audience that wants more, that will remember the name (or brand), seek out further contact with makers, further information on the subject.

While it’s possible to dissect subsets of content, I think it’s important in this discussion to remember that we can draw no meaningful general distinction between advertising and any other media expression.

Anonymous Coward says:

The best content as advertising, or rather advertising as content, I’ve seen was before the movie “District 9”. It was an ad for “The Jay Leno Show” which involved him and a reporter getting in a roadside accident, feeling guilty, making a police officer dig his own grave in the desert, etc…

I would gladly watch the ad again, and recommend others watch it (if I could find it online).

TheStupidOne says:

What is really being sold here? It is just a ticket. If you go to the play you are only paying for a ticket. You don’t get to own the play, the actors, the seat, the atmosphere, or anything but the ticket. So really the play itself is just a marketing tool to get you to buy a ticket. The comfortable seats, fancy decorations, high society feel, are all just marketing ploys.

So the twitter feed is just a free version of the play that got people interested in seeing the real play so that they would buy a ticket. Good Job

key to freedom (user link) says:


Content self-promotion. Each time you post content you are saying something about yourself. Don’t aim to make your product sellable, aim to make your content valuable. People seek value first. They want something useful, and they also like freebies. Cash will find its way into your pocket when you give people what is theirs.

“Next To Normal” understands this.


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