Saturday, March 27, 2010

LOGOS: Promises, Promises

With previews of Broadway's first-ever revival of Promises, Promises beginning this evening, let's take a look at the logo and advertising thus far for the show. 

Visually, the logo and print work evoke both a time gone by and, interestingly, modern times.  The lettering is old-school, but pristine and sharp like in modern advertising.  The background, depending on the ad you are looking at looks at first glance like an early 60's print - geometric shapes in a repeating pattern, supplemented with lined patterns.  But one ad, when you look closer, looks like high rise apartment buildings; the other looks like keyholes arranged in a close pattern.  Both motifs, of course, have to do with the story of Promises, Promises, itself based on the film The Apartment.  In the play, the central character has an executive apartment, which he is free to live in when the executives aren't using it for their swinging lifestyle.

More so than anything else, the choice of colors really creates a sense of the time period - two shades of orange, a goldish yellow, and bubble gum pink, suggesting a bright, somewhat innocent mood.  And placing the title in cartoon speech bubbles suggests that promises are made, but perhaps in a not too serious way.

Another element that perfectly captures the old-fashioned style, while playing to modern audiences is the use of portraits of the two stars of the show as part of the logo and Playbill cover, a practice that was definitely the style when the show was "current".  And let's face it, Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth are a significant draw, so putting them front and center instead of a logo image is a wise move.  And the soft, diffuse clarity of the photo softens both, while both look sharp in period costume.  You have to love the detail of Hayes' watch, tie and hair style, and the fun, laughing style of the Chenoweth photo tells us she'll be fun and stylish.  Doesn't the picture remind you of a fashion photo?

The Bacharach - David score and "sound" is legendary, and accordingly, in ads where sound is an option, a snippet of the title song, along with female vocalists "ahing" in that unmistakable style are an appropriate choice, especially if trying to capture an audience full of folks who grew up in the early to mid 1960's.  The brief commercial (below) captures it all and entices - not too much detail, but catchy.  And the tagline is clever and perfect, appealing to the important New York City buyer first and foremost.

The cast, the score, and the book by Neil Simon was enough to attract me without any of this.  I can only assume that this is the same for people who follow theatre closely.  But for the general population, this is certainly, so far, a smart campaign, including downplaying Simon's role at this time, considering his most recent track record with ticket buyers.  I expect that should the reviews be good, suddenly his name will again appear and be mentioned aloud.

So far, Promises, Promises is full of - you guessed it - promise.  Sorry... :-)

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