Iranian theatre is a sensitive market with a fickle audience. So how were we able to grab the attention of the existing audience while also generating a new audience to succeed in selling out a show?
Taking on such a challenge would be a test for any of the top advertising agencies in Iran. Compound this with the fact the production was to be the first-ever running of a play by Iran’s critically acclaimed yet contentious Bahram Beyzaei, and you’d be excused for thinking we were mad for taking the project on.
Mohsen Hosseini, the production director, chose the challenge of putting on Beyzaei’s 1985 play, Gholaman War, or the otherwise titled, ‘The Squires’ Account of War; a Farce’. To help promote this play, he chose us at Zigma8 Advertising Agency to generate a buzz, and in turn, generate sales.
Our challenge would be to promote this play to a small yet fickle theatre-going audience. Their word-of-mouth reviews can usually make or break a production, so how did we succeed in making the show a sell-out?
We knew that the traditional approach would get the traditional response. Therefore, pasting up posters and writing up the usual blurb just wouldn't cut it. So, to inspire the existing theatre-going crowd and capture the imagination of a new audience, we chose a new approach.
Our chosen strategy was to create content that would create content. We would use the power of social media to empower the existing audience while inadvertently reaching a new audience. To do this, we almost literally set the stage by using multiple engagement techniques with print and video.
Our audience would almost literally be in the front row as they looked on at the promotional material. For this, we sent gift packs to celebrities and influencers, who were so impressed by our innovative approach to the promotion that they, in turn, shared it with their followers in the form of unboxing-styled videos.
Our creative solution achieved its desired effect, helping the message go viral and helping the show sell out within a week of the tickets going on sale. Also, as planned, our solution brought in a new audience, evidenced by the additional non-seat sales that had parts of our audience sitting the performance out on the floor. As if this wasn’t enough of an ovation to our performance, our packaging and production of the promotional material won us an award in the Brand Identity and Design category at the Sarv e Noghrei, 7th biennial, hosted by the Iranian Graphic Designers’ Society.