Chicago Theatre District: Broadway in Chicago “Student Scene” PR Campaign

21 Nov

This is the paper for the group project/final for my intro PR class at DePaul. We got an “A” so I thought I’d share.

BIC Student Scene PowerPoint Presentation

 Chicago Theatre District

PRAD 555 Final Campaign

Broadway In Chicago Student Scene Logo

Alina Blackford, Katie Denton, Lauren Dixon

 Situation Analysis:

Broadway in Chicago was founded in July of 2000 and throughout the past ten years has become one of the largest locations for traveling performances in the country. “Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining well over 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Bank of America Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and just off the Magnificent Mile, the new Broadway Playhouse.”[1] While Broadway in Chicago reaches a large number of people every year, none of their marketing efforts are geared specifically towards one or even a few target audiences. Broadway in Chicago seems to be trying to reach everyone with their campaigns and out of that target of “everyone,” BIC ignores the thousands of Chicago University students who live and play right next-door.

Subscription purchases are always preferable to theaters than single ticket purchases. Customers purchasing subscriptions commit to a certain number of performances and are more likely to purchase again in the future than single ticket buyers. Theaters aim to make life-long partnerships with subscription buyers, hoping that a feeling of loyalty to and ownership of the theater will keep them from straying to other entertainment sources. BIC has a members club in which subscribers can receive points for performances they attend but offers no additional perks for students, not even student rush tickets. Broadway in Chicago does not manage its own box office but uses Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster records can be accessed for tracking subscription and single ticket purchases.

Broadway in Chicago theaters host touring performances in an array of genres ranging from traditional musical theater, (West Side Story, Marry Poppins, South Pacific) to new modern musicals (The Book of Mormon, Rock of Ages, American Idiot). Broadway in Chicago Theaters are right in the heart of the loop surrounded by a variety of restaurants and nightlife options. Many loop restaurants offer a prix fixe menu where anyone with theater tickets can get an appetizer, dinner, and desert for a set price.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • BIC presents nationally touring Broadway shows
  • BIC has a wide variety of performances to choose from
  • BIC is the 5th largest tourist attraction in Chicago
  • BIC theaters are surrounded by restaurants and nightlife

Weaknesses

  • There is a lack of a target audience in Broadway in Chicago communications.
  • There is a missed opportunity in targeting students and creating discounted programs to encourage their attendance

Opportunities

  • BIC theaters are located in the heart of the Loop near 4 major arts schools
  • There is room to target students at these colleges with an interest in art, but a lower budget
  • Liberal arts students offer a large target audience

Threats

  • Chicago is home to a large number of arts organizations that have similar performances at the same time as BIC theaters
  • Chicago has a dynamic nightlife that attracts students on the weekends
  • School theaters offer lower prices to their students than BIC shows

Research:

Broadway in Chicago Theaters

  • Oriental Theatre-24 W Randolph St
  • Cadillac Palace Theatre-151 W Randolph St.
  • Bank of America Theatre-18 W Monroe St.
  • Auditorium Theatre-50 E Congress Parkway
  • Broadway Playhouse-175 E. Chestnut Avenue (Water Tower Place)

Loop Schools

Columbia College Chicago- Private Arts and Media College

  • 600 S. Michigan Ave (about 15 minutes away from the theatre district)
  • 11,400 undergraduates and 522 graduate students
  • 2,200 students live in four residence centers – all located steps from our main campus

DePaul University- The Theatre School

  • 135 N. Kenmore Ave (about 20 minutes away from the theatre district)
  • One of America’s oldest and most respected theatre conservatories
  • 330 students (very small program)

DePaul University- Loop Campus

  • DePaul Center 1 E Jackson Blvd (right in heart of theatre district)
  • Upperclassman and graduate loop housing at the University Center (UC).
  • 25,145 students total

○        16,052 undergraduate students, 8,017 graduate students and 1,076 law students.

Roosevelt University

  • 430 S Michigan Ave
  • Home to the Auditorium Theater
  • 3,919 undergraduate students and 2,703 graduate students

SAIC- School of the Art Institute of Chicago

  • 37 South Wabash Avenue (right in the heart of the theatre district)
  • Leader in educating artist and designers
  • In addition to studio courses all students are required to take courses in liberal arts and art/design history, theory, and criticism
  • 3,246 students currently enrolled

Strategic Planning

Goal:

To generate interest and increase attendance among Chicago students at Broadway in Chicago performances.

Objective:

To increase subscription purchases by liberal arts students who are more than 21 years old to 1,000 in one year.

Strategy

  • ENCOURAGE

○       Students to become regular subscribers to BIC performances and to view BIC as a social event

  • ENGAGE

○       By bringing BIC to the schools and forming relationships with student clubs to further promote student program

  • EXECUTE

○       Through a combination of social and traditional PR techniques to successfully roll out our one-year campaign

Tactics

Broadway in Chicago Student Scene

We will create the Student Scene to encourage students studying at schools with connections to the Loop to become regular viewers of productions by Broadway in Chicago. A points system will be developed allowing for exclusive member benefits. Once the students graduate, they will have the option to roll over their points to the official Broadway in Chicago Club, encouraging them to become life-long subscribers.

For further encouragement to join the Student Scene, we will position the club and theater as a social scene for this younger generation. We will choose four performances each year, one at each theater, to host a pre or post-performance event for Student Scene members. Students with a pre-determined amount of points will be able to attend the event free of charge; those with no points can pay a small fee to attend. The events will also be multi-tiered benefiting those students with more points. In October we will host a kick-off welcome party for Student Scene members.

Events for the 2011-2012 Season:

The Book of Mormon: Bank of America Theatre, Dates: Begins December 11, 2012

  • Pre-performance cocktail hour with a special introduction by the directors

The Addams Family: Cadillac Palace Theatre, Dates: December 13, 2011 – January 01, 2012

  • Post-performance costume party

American Idiot: Oriental Theatre, Dates: February 07, 2012 – February 19, 2012

  • Post-performance party with Green Day cover band

Bring it On: The Musical Cadillac Palace Theatre. Dates: March 06, 2012 – March 25, 2012

  • Pre-performance party with cast members, the Chicago Bears and the Honey Bears cheerleading squad

University Engagement

We will hire student ambassadors from each university for season-long internships. The students will act as liaisons between Broadway in Chicago and the student population. Their job will be to promote the Student Scene while bringing suggestions and concerns voiced by peers to our team to better the program. Student ambassadors will participate in information tables at competing performances or as a street team. This represents the grassroots portion of our campaign, as the student ambassadors will be required to physically promote the program. Student ambassadors will receive a free membership to the Student Scene and double points for future members referred by them. We will also purchase Student Scene advertisements in PlayBills for University Productions and partner with Marketing professors at these four target schools to incorporate the Student Scene campaign into curriculum.

Traditional Media

Our campaign team will pitch relevant local and university media with features about the kick-off party and following performances, events and benefits. We will pitch entertainment reporters at:

  • Chicago Sun Times
  • Chicago Journal
  • Chicago Reader
  • RedEye
  • The DePaulia
  • The Columbia Chronicle
  • Roosevelt Torch
  • FNewsMagazine (SAIC)

Social Media

Develop a social media campaign around the Student Scene for updates on schedules, productions, events and other news. Social media is an effective outlet with which to reach our defined audience.

  • Facebook page: Members will be invited once they join the Student Scene. Pictures and short video clips will be posted of events and performances, and updates will be listed. The Facebook page will only be open to Student Scene members.
  • Twitter account: The Twitter account will run continuous updates on all BIC performances and events.
  • Blog: Managed by student ambassadors chronicling their experiences as BIC Student Scene interns, the performances they view and events they attend. This will act as another outlet for updates and will also encourage the next round of students to apply to be ambassadors to experience the perks.
  • YouTube channel: Student Scene will post clips from their events

Measuring Success:

Success of this campaign will best be measured over time. In the short-term, BIC can compare ticket sales and subscription sales of young people ages 21-30 before the campaign to the numbers afterwards. All aspects of this campaign will be tracked through Ticketmaster with codes. For example, if a student buys a ticket because another student referred them, the purchaser’s transaction will have a specific code entered into the database, so BIC can tell how many new customers were generated through referrals.

Building lifelong relationships with these students can also be tracked in the long-term through Ticketmaster. Upon graduating from their Loop University, students can be transferred in to the regular BIC Club and their points from the student club will carry over. These BIC Club accounts will be tagged differently in the Ticketmaster system than those of regular adult members and in ten years BIC can track how many active club members originated in this student program.

The success of this campaign can also be measured by the longevity of partnerships with the Universities and student organizations. The goal of generating interest and increasing attendance among Chicago students at Broadway in Chicago performances can easily be measured by using encryptions in the ticketing software to determine why ticket buyers are purchasing. After each season we will host a focus group of Club members to ensure that the club is still meeting their expectations. After the first year, this campaign can be rolled out to include younger students and expand to more schools in the Chicago area.

Sources

http://www.broadwayinchicago.com

http://www.colum.edu/

http://theatreschool.depaul.edu/

http://www.depaul.edu/

http://www.roosevelt.edu/

http://www.saic.edu/

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