Reaching New Audiences

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When Kristen & Cody decided to add Venus in Fur to our season, I saw it as a personal challenge. As the incoming Marketing Coordinator, my first show requiring creative input into our advertising campaign was something sexy, promiscuous, and edgy. Plus, we were opening it in early October, way before I thought most patrons would be in town from their homes up north and abroad.

In my limited exposure to the Naples community, what I saw was a conservative and seasonal population. MAN, was I wrong (but that’s a bit of a spoiler, I’ll get to that later)! So, just as Master Class was closing in the Daniels Pavilion last year, Kristen and I began to put our heads together on how we could change our usual model to attract an audience that may have never heard of Gulfshore Playhouse before.  As it likely always should be .

Without naming names, we added advertising in new publications and simultaneously cut some others. We added a whole new version of marketing with internet banners as well. Now, some of you who may not hail from the Naples area must be thinking I’m crazy. ‘How is it 2013 and you’re JUST beginning internet advertising?!’ you may be asking, but here in Naples, the newspaper is still king. And as a former journalism major, it is something I love seeing. But, back to the point. We were trying new things for Venus in Fur. One of the taglines Kristen came up with early on (that I admittedly balked at originally) was “Get Whipped!”, but we went with it. In tiny ads that were just meant to catch your attention and drive you to our website, we ran a full week of ads telling people to get whipped. And to my shock, it worked! We were receiving notes from community members complimenting us on something so intriguing. And from there, we ran with it. Using quotes from the play text itself, and sexy, funny taglines that we were hoping would work.

Let me repeat:  MAN, was I wrong! The Naples audiences seem to love the new advertising (on top of the wonderful press we’ve received in the community)! So far, we’ve had 250 people purchase tickets to Venus in Fur who had never bought tickets to another Gulfshore Playhouse production. And we’re only one week into the run! We have room to welcome so many more new people! And my advertising work is not done!

I’m so excited that this show is being received well here in Naples, and I’m ecstatic to see new faces walking through our doors! So, to those who have not seen Venus in Fur yet, get your tickets and show me that all my hard work has paid off!

See you at the show(I hope)!

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