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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

LOGOS: Mean Girls

If I had to pick the best version,
it would be this one
Sometimes, show logos reveal a lot of thought in creating a meaningful image that conveys the essence of the play or musical it is representing.  Others are all about creating a recognizable brand. The best ones do both.  Sometimes, they miss the mark.  Such is the case with the logo for the recently opened Mean Girls.

Grade: D

Let me start with what works. The color. That bright pink not only brings to mind what fans of the film (aka potential ticket buyers) - the Plastics, as you may (or may not) know wear pink on Wednesdays, but that color is surely eye-catching.  And eye-catching becomes increasingly important when you consider the intense level of sight pollution in the theater district.  You need something to draw the attention away from people on their devices or walking down Broadway or 8th Avenue, all of whom might actually pause for a second at the ends of (or actually on) 52nd Street, and consider Mean Girls.   After that crucial pause/glance up, the white-against-pink title might be noticed and recognized.

Why?
Here's where things get dicey. If you are a fan of the film, you might recognize the triumvirate of meanness - The Plastics - who are the central image of the logo. If you have a vague recollection of the film or don't really "follow Broadway," you might be spending a few crucial seconds trying figure out who is famous enough to be on the marquee. "Were they in the movie?  I don't see Rachel McAdams or even Lindsay Lohan... wait, isn't Mean Girls a high school movie? Hmm... they are all way past high school age..." In that brief window of time where logo translates into enough interest to buy a ticket precious seconds tick away trying to figure out who the heck is in it. And when no one but the most loyal Broadway fan would recognize Ms. Louderman, Park or Rockwell, one has to wonder if putting them on the logo was a wise choice. Of course, I mean no offense to the three of them - my record shows that I am, indeed, a fan of all three. (I LOVED BRING IT ON, THE KING AND I, AND LEGALLY BLONDE!)  Since this isn't a star vehicle, it might actually work against it. Even star vehicles have problems when their star is featured prominently in the logo and related (ask The Producers, etc.)

Then there is the distracting way the title is written, like it is scratched into their dresses.  And, too, the other doodles/graffiti that surrounds the ladies.  I mean, I get it. It's all "a la the Burn Book." But I know the movie, and I've taken the time to really study this logo. Most people don't. And most people, who look at these things as part of their purchasing decision - particularly those not really familiar with the 20-something year old property - will be confused and or turned off by the squiggles and scratching that mean nothing at first glance.

You and to use your stars in your logo? Ask Waitress how to make that work.  Want to use graffiti? Do like the folks over at School of Rock and confine your use to the actual theater which offers some context, but keep it away from the logo.

Don't be fooled by this logo

This is a show that would really benefit from a "Burn-worthy" tag line. "Don't be fooled by the pink" in that weird scratchy letters font and cut out letters (ransom note?)... not so much.

I bought a ticket because I am a regular Broadway consumer.  The logo really doesn't affect me - though I will not even bother looking at the merch, I find it that repellent. But, the reason shows even have logos and advertising is to capture as many ticket-buyers as possible. If the target audience is people who were teens 20 some years ago aka people who can afford the high-priced tickets, then the t-shirts will sell well with those moms who identify with Mrs. George (take that as you will).  If the target audience is their kids, maybe it'll work, too. But you gotta get a lot more people in those seats to sustain a long run. In another 20 some years, will people be wearing Mean Girls shirts? Probably not. But I bet you'll still see people in Phantom and Wicked wear.

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