The new Broadway musical Something Rotten! was faced with a brace of positive reviews—with the notable exception of The New York Times, which tends to be the review most producers want in their corner.
So what to do? Stick with all the hosannas? Or find some way to spin flax into gold?
That's when the folks on the digital marketing and social media team of SpotCo, the show's marketing firm, went to work.
Spokesman Joe Perrotta said, "The team was looking to do something fun that reflected the comedy and sentiment of Something Rotten! that’s been established in the campaign since the beginning of the show while collaborating with [producer] Kevin McCollum who’s known for that kind of sly, clever humor — similar to what he’s done in the past with his productions of The Drowsy Chaperone and Avenue Q."
They cooked up a simple concept. Against the standard wacky background SR! was using for all its online-only Twitter and Facebook postings (but not print ads), the show would list this chirpy quote from Times critic Ben Brantley: "A new show that opened Wednesday night at the St. James Theatre."
He did write it, after all.
Perrotta said, "The reaction today has been extraordinary. That Tweet 'broke the internet'."
Will it go down in Broadway advertising history, like the time in the early 1960s when producer David Merrick ran a quote ad for the tepidly-received Subways Are for Sleeping featuring raves from people with the same names as the critics? Only time will tell.
As for the future, Perrotta said, "They’re always coming up with new ideas to riff off both topical things happening in our industry and the theatre world in general, so I too delight in witnessing these things evolve and I can’t wait to see what’s to come as we get further into the season."