Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creative Marketing Campaign

Dasha Epstein woke up at 2 AM one morning with a crazy idea. The show she is producing on Broadway this season, Chinglish, was in need of a boost and an idea had just occurred to her. The show, according to a Playbill.com article by Andrew Gans, is "about an Ohio businessman navigating misunderstandings of language and etiquette on an important business trip to China."

The idea Ms. Epstein came up with was fortune cookies. Ms Epstein told the story to Playbill.com. "I went to the internet and I looked up 'fortune cookie manufacturer in New York City,'I found out it's in Brooklyn on Moore Street [and called] Wonton Inc., and they are the largest manufacturers of fortune cookies and noodles. I went down there and I said, 'I'd like to speak to the president.' I had taken the Chinese reviews from [the play's out-of-town engagement in] Chicago, which were spectacular, thinking the head of the company might be Chinese, and indeed he was. He came down and said, 'What can I do for you?' And, I said, 'I would like you to be part of this show. I would like to have fortune cookies, and I would like to have inserted as a fortune: "Chinglish, Aha! A funny timely Broadway play" and on the other side, "Call Telecharge" and the telephone number.' Nobody had ever done that before, and he looked at me and said, 'That's a very good idea! I will pass those out in every Chinese restaurant,' and I said that we will get people to pass them out in Times Square and the Broadway area."

Ms. Epstein ordered 5,000 cookies and started passing them out. Though the show has faced an uphill climb since it opened in late October, this is certainly a neat trick. Let's hope it works!

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