Evil Dead: The MusicalHow did these alternative theatre producers launch and market successful runs of “Full Monty” and “Evil Dead: The Musical” to sold out audiences?
After the success of The Full Monty: The Musical, Commotion re-teamed with Calgary producers Ground Zero Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions in spring of 2009 to market the producers’ latest acquisition — EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL! After successful runs in Toronto and New York, Evil Dead’s appearance in Calgary was a Western Canadian first.
Launching May 26th for an intended 3-week run (not exactly “Zombie” season) the production had the capacity to continue given that sales supported a hold over.
Partnering up again with arts publicity firm Bottom Line, Commotion mobilized a Facebook “per-click” advertising campaign that produced millions of impressions and started online buzz momentum.
At the end of April, Evil Dead was set up with an impossible-to-miss booth at Calgary’s “Comic-Con,” where horror, fantasy, and comic fans were treated to a massive part of the stage set, t-shirt and merchandise sales, posters, and running Evil Dead footage on screen.
T-shirts and beer promotions were planned with local pubs, which spread the word via a key networking hub and with key influencers. A special screening of Evil Dead II was held at The Uptown Theatre, for fans of the film, with prizing, contests, and announcements about the show. Many showed up in Zombie attire. Tickets were available on-site during the party.
A traditional advertising mix included a large scale outdoor billboard, in-transit and LRT station posters, street postering and postcards, movie slides that played in front of the first of the May blockbuster movies — such as Wolverine and Star Trek — newspaper, and underground magazine ads.
On CityTV, a week of contesting on Breakfast Television included a 15-second television commercial spoofed the traditional musical culture of love, romance, music — only to be interrupted by a Zombie popping up to shake that tradition. The contest was a “spot the Zombie” challenge, whereby Commotion coordinated with CityTV the filming of full in-make-up zombie characters at various locations around Calgary, getting closer and closer to the CityTV station. On the day of announcing the winner, the BT Host was transformed into a zombie by Evil Dead makeup artists, and remained on the air in costume and makeup for the entire news hour.
Onsite at the theatre, a full merchandise station was created. After the standing ovation Opening Night, video footage captured the mayhem and enthusiasm of the “Splatter Zone” rows. A video was edited and posted online. Within days, fans were posting bloodied photos of themselves to the production’s Facebook Page, and declaring their opinions and rave reviews.
Evil Dead sold out its original run and was held over for seven weeks — more than doubling the original planned run.
An increase in the Production Company’s email database and a 40% increase in the company’s registered Facebook fans.
Voted “Favourite Musical” by Fast Forward Magazine readers; Betty Mitchell Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The Musical, with its Calgary cast, and with Commotion on board for Marketing, moved on to make its Vancouver debut in October 2009.