NEW YORK—The Tony-winning Broadway musical ONCE this week launches a first-of-its-kind native advertising campaign in tandem with New York Magazine and Vulture.com in which music videos and other exclusive content related to the show are featured on a dedicated hub on the magazine’s entertainment website.
Part of a rebranding effort developed by entertainment marketing agency AKA NYC, the ONCE Vulture hub extends the experience of the show online. “We are always seeking new ways to communicate with audiences,” says AKA NYC Managing Partner Elizabeth Furze. “Vulture offers us the perfect native advertising opportunity for ONCE, by creating exclusive video content around the music we are able to authentically showcase the ONCE experience to the readers of New York Magazine and Vulture.com.”
ONCE branded content featured on the Vulture site includes exclusive music videos and other media all created exclusively for New York Magazine by AKA NYC. The magazine is promoting the initiative with a social media sweepstakes, “blogvertorials,” web advertising, sponsored Twitter posts and other means.
AKA NYC began its rebrand of ONCE earlier this summer. In June, the agency released a music driven television spot designed to give viewers a taste of the show’s unique character by placing them on stage with the performers. More recently, the agency used social media to promote Glen Hansard joining the cast onstage for one night only. (Hansard, who wrote the music and lyrics and starred in the original movie, joined the show for its 1000th performance and celebrated the milestone in a post-show jam session.) The campaign also includes print, radio, outdoor and web advertising, all centering on the show’s authenticity. The rebranding effort has already led to a significant spike in ticket sales.
The television spot, music videos and other branded content were directed by Jamaal + Bashan (AKA’s in-house creative team of Content Director Jamaal Parham and Executive Creative Director Bashan Aquart). The television spot features an abbreviated version of Gold with the camera floating among dancing musicians during the mesmerizing first encounter between the show’s main characters, “Guy” and “Girl.” Music videos appearing for this first time this week on Vulture include versions of When Your Mind’s Made Up, Falling Slowly and other songs.
“ONCE is not a typical musical where people sing about their emotions,” explains Parham. “Rather the characters are musicians and the songs arise organically from the story. The energy comes from seeing performers pour their hearts out in a song.”
“We wanted to maintain a natural feel,” adds Aquart. “In this show there are no jazz hands, no high kicks, no sequins. What you get is a rich, authentic story about a guy and a girl who are inspired by each other to make music.”
Jamaal + Bashan spent two days working with the show’s cast and creative team at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. The directors heightened the sense of realism and intimacy through the use of vintage lenses, mood lighting and hand-held camerawork. “Our cameraman was in there dancing with the actors,” Parham says. “We wanted to place people in the midst of these very talented performers who are creating the music as you watch them.”
Other elements of the campaign focus on ONCE’s unique stature as the only show on Broadway whose music has won the Academy Award®, Grammy Award®, Olivier Award and Tony Award®. The show’s new website features iconic images of the cast and references to its many accolades. This clean, yet dramatic aesthetic captures the essence of the show and translates well to print, web and outdoor advertising. The idea, explains Aquart, is to underscore the show’s success, its love story and unique concept in a dynamic and memorable way.
Parham says that he believes the unusual character of the new campaign will provoke a strong emotional response among theater goers. “Broadway advertising hasn’t been done in quite this way before,” he says. “We put you on stage and trust you to get it without telling you what to think. Once you get a feel for the story and the emotions, why wouldn’t you want to see this show?”
Client: ONCE and the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
Agency: AKA NYC. Jamaal + Bashan, Director; Bashan Aquart, Executive Creative Director; Jamaal Parham, Content Director; Adam Coffia, Executive Producer; Lauren Hunter, Copywriter; Jamaal Parham, Editor; Nick Lane, Secondary Editor; Roman Micevic, Motion Graphics; Adam McDaid, Cinematographer; Monique Perreault, Line Producer.
Color: The Mill
Sound: Plush NYC
Click here to view a behind-the-scenes video on the making of the new campaign for ONCE: http://vimeo.com/99656311
Guy meets Girl in the SMASH-HIT, MULTI-AWARD WINNING MUSICAL ONCE
From the very first note, ONCE draws you in and never lets go. This emotionally captivating musical is the only show on Broadway to have music that won the Academy Award®, Grammy Award®, Olivier Award and Tony Award®. The New York Post says, this "gem of a show wins its standing ovations the old-fashioned way: with a love story, great songs, compelling characters and inventive stagecraft."
Set in modern day Dublin, ONCE is the story of a Guy who gave up on his music—and his love—and the Girl who inspired him to dream again. This exhilarating musical is performed by an extraordinary cast of actor-musicians who sing, dance and play their hearts out on stage. Directed and choreographed by the brilliant team of Tony Award winner John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett (The Glass Menagerie), this theatrically breathtaking production will dazzle you with its originality, wit and unforgettable music.
Featuring all of the magical songs from the critically-acclaimed film, including the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly," this achingly beautiful, joyously uplifting show strikes a chord in audiences and speaks to the power of music to connect us all. A show like that only comes around ONCE.
AKA is a global, full-service advertising agency with offices in the U.S., UK and Australia. The AKA Group, including Digital Media Services and the film advertising agency The Creative Partnership, delivers creative, strategic and insightful campaigns to the entertainment industry worldwide.
The New York office, led by Elizabeth Furze and Scott Moore, delivers innovative solutions across media, marketing, partnerships, interactive, creative, broadcast, box office and ticketing, and campaign management, with a proven record for producing sales-driven campaigns for premium, must-see productions, venues, exhibitions and events.
Current and recent NYC clients include: 2012 Tony Award® Best Musical winner Once, Matilda The Musical, Rock of Ages, 2010 Tony Award Best Musical winner Memphis, A Christmas Story The Musical, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, It’s Only a Play, Queen of the Night, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Trip to Bountiful, The Glass Menagerie and 2014 Tony Award Best Play winner All the Way.
For more information, visit akanyc.net