Sampler Brings Music to the Mailbox
Product samples are no rarity in the Who's Mailing What! Archive; publishers, retailers and software mailers often use them to give prospects a free taste of what they have to offer. In August, we saw this tactic reach into the performing arts sector, as the producers of "In My Life" mailed a CD sampler to introduce theater-goers to the new musical (Archive code #580-703736-0508).
According to Angelo Desimini, group director for Serino Coyne, the New York-based agency that created the effort, developing a direct mail campaign to promote "In My Life," which opened at the Music Box Theatre in October, presented a number of challenges for the Serino Coyne team:
--Unlike many shows that run throughout the country before hitting Broadway, "In My Life" is making its premiere at the Music Box. This means there would be no word of mouth or critic reviews to leverage.
--It is a smaller show with no big stars.
--While Producer Joe Brooks is an Oscar and Grammy winner, he is relatively unknown on Broadway.
So without the three elements a Broadway campaign typically is focused around, the team had to look elsewhere for a hook. And as Desimini explains, they found it in the show itself: "The one thing that we had right away, very early on to sell this show was the music. It tells the story, captures what the show is about, and it's our strongest selling tool."
Not wanting to create a direct mail campaign around anything other than the show's strongest pointits unique selling proposition, if you willSerino Coyne decided to use a CD sampler featuring three of the show's songs, a tactic it used very successfully a few years back for the premiere of the musical "Hairspray."
"'Hairspray' had been a movie, and people were curious how it would become a musical, so we sent a [mailing] featuring the music," recalls Desimini. "It [had] a huge return, something around the 12 percent mark. They actually had to shut off the code because it was selling too many tickets."
This iteration of the CD sampler is a 5" x 5" self-mailer referred to as a four-panel jacket in CD/DVD circles. In actuality, it's a six-panel piece where one panel folds over and is sealed on two sides to hold the disc, leaving four panels visible for art and copy. The package, which is made of cardstock heavy enough to protect the disc from breaking, is tab-sealed for mailing.
Because of the limited space afforded by the jacket mailer, the choice was made to keep the focus squarely on the quality of the music. The address panel invites the recipient to, "Listen to the best music you've heard in your life ... Free CD Sampler Inside!" The front of the self-mailer begs the question, "When was the last time you fell in love with a Broadway musical?" And the interior assures the prospect that, "It's sure to be love at first listen."
According to Desimini, this focus builds up to the second advantage that the CD afforded: the ability to prove to the Broadway afficionados who received the effort that the score does live up to that promise. As he explains, when developing a mailing list for this campaign, the agency looked first to Broadway multibuyers who have purchased tickets to two or more musicals in the last 12 months, and second to ZIPs that are geographically close to Manhattan.
The challenge in targeting regular theater-goers is that they know musicals, and winning them over with copy alone would be a difficult task. "These multibuyers would say 'prove it' to [our claims]. So the tactic was to showcase the music and entice them with the idea that we want to prove to them that this show is the real deal," asserts Desimini.
Desimini can't share exact figures, but he can say that this effort is fairing very well and he attributes that success to the fact that the mailing allows the show to literally sing its own praises.
"It certainly is pulling in lots of ticket sales. And I think that without the CD it wouldn't have done as well as it is."