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Dance can be tricky when it comes to marketing. Afficionados may
be fairly familiar with a large swath of the dance repertoire. But how do you
generate curiosity among the uninitiated when you have only a giant billboard
with which to do it? That was the intriguing challenge facing the marketing
department of Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, which is trying to whip up interest in
the Chicago premiere of the ballet "Othello" from Oct. 14 to 25 at
the Auditorium Theatre. Since the ballet has never before been presented in
Chicago, even afficionados may not be fully informed about the piece and
whatever might make it worth seeing.
In any event, the Joffrey decided to use only a bit of beefcake imagery and a
Web address to whet the public's appetite for "Othello" in the new
billboard execution. We fear the new billboard may not offer enough information
or enough of a hard sell to have much impact at the box office. A hint at what
might have helped the billboard work better is evident at the Joffrey Web site,
where the same dancer with rippling chest musculature is visible. But above the
ballet's title, the words "witness the passion" magically materialize
on the Joffrey home page on the Web. Now passion is something people can savor
in a dance performance. A mention of that passion would have been a resonant
addition to the billboard too.
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