Saturday, November 14, 2009

Logos: Appropriately Inappropriate

You may have read my short blog on the steam heat being given off off-Broadway these days in The Understudy and Loaded. Both shows have done some pretty extensive ad campaigns for off-Broadway plays, and both seem to really know their target audience. Pictures and casting combine to make both shows clear as to content. The Understudy features an all-star cast shown in pictures that depict a theatrical setting. The chemistry between the three is evident even in the photographs, and from them (and the title, now confirmed) one can tell that evening will probably deal with actors and understudies literally. And of course, that show benefits from having actual production photos.

Loaded, on the other hand, has posed cast pictures in advance of production stills that also clearly show what the audience can expect: an older man and a younger man, both naked (at least from the chest up) have an intimate and not familial relationship, as evidenced by how they are holding each other. A clearly gay situation, aimed squarely at a gay audience, which also puts into question what exactly the title means. Is it a double, triple or quadruple entendre? Lest there be any confusion, however, the ad people came up with a logo/advertising art combination that clearly tells us to leave the kids and the sexually squeamish at home!

The logo, above, uses the "male" symbol as the "o" in Loaded, and takes it further by having two of the same paired. We know for sure this play has gay themes. But just how sexual might it be? Well, the background art, below, clears that up, for both gays and straights with any kind of sexual education. In the background we see a jock strapped, chiseled man with, um, a suggestion that he is endowed and another man, equally chiseled in boxers sitting at eye level with said jock strap. And the style of the art is that of those charcoal/pencil drawings found in all varieties of pornographic magazines, or, for the more scholarly, it resembles drawings found in the acclaimed volumes The Joy of Sex and its sister publication, The Joy of Gay Sex. One can assume, then from the pictures and the logo that this production will also have sexual themes, perhaps more forthright than generally performed onstage. But it is clever and "thinking man" enough to also suggest that while it might be graphic in tone, it will still be tasteful and provocative. And don't miss the tag line...

I believe that is the intent, for sure, of all involved, but then I saw the animated logo ad in the sidebar of a theatre website that has the "o" in motion. First one symbol fades in, then the other. Both wiggle a bit and the second symbol rather blatantly penetrates the rear end of the first. I literally LOLed. Let there be no question about it. Loaded will be hot, provoking and has what appears to be a sense of humor.

For the audience they are after, I think the producers got more than their money's worth for advertising.

What do you think? Have you/are you going to see the show? Let us know!

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