It is easy to embellish what the production you are promoting is about in an attempt to gain the attention of a wider range of ticket buyers. You might try to change the focus of your marketing strategy to fit certain groups, without taking into consideration its relevance in the play or project in question.
A lot changes from the script to stage production. You could have read the play and have a certain idea of what themes lie within it, but that might not be the focus of this production. This is why it is key to maintain a clear and constant communication with your producer/director to make sure the angle you are using will enhance the experience rather than diminish.
It all comes down to word of mouth created by your audience and the press. You may have come up with what you think is a great way to sell the show, and it might get your audience in the theater, but once that audience doesn’t see what they were promised two things happen:
1. They will be disappointed, obsessed and focused on what they were expecting to see and will not appreciate the great things that the show really is about. 2. They will not tell their friends to come see the show. A referral is the most powerful tools in selling theater tickets.
I recently experienced a case of misleading advertisement as a theatergoer. Both the press materials and postcard/ads suggested the show fervently dealt with gay marriage and Prop 8. Well it didn’t. At least not in a way that drove the plot. But it was still a good production with talented actors and crisp direction. I was able to put aside the fact that I was cheated and lead to believe it was about something that it wasn’t. But my friend who saw the show with me was not as forgiving, and neither was the press. All the reviews focused on how poorly the subject of gay marriage was tackled within this play.
Be true to your project and never promise something you can’t deliver for the sake of ticket sales. Trust that people will like what you are selling, and remember the importance of word of mouth.