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What This Shakespeare Play Can Teach You About Creativity—and Marketing

Every summer, Vancouver is host to the not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare Festival known as Bard on the Beach.

Bard on the Beach stages productions in two large tents on the Vancouver waterfront. Productions include Shakespeare plays, related dramas and special events. The shows typically run from June to September.

A couple of nights ago, my family and I attended a performance of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.”

This was no conventional Shakespeare performance. The setting of this production has been moved from 16th century France to 1960s Vancouver! It has also been amended to include 25 Beatles songs, performed lived by the cast.

Sounds crazy, right?

Yet somehow, it totally worked.

The director, Daryl Cloran, removed large sections of dialogue to accommodate the songs, which might offend Shakespeare purists. But he used the songs to clarify the plot and deepen character development.

As he describes it: “We wanted the songs to feel like an integral part of the story, as opposed to signaling a break from the story.”

What Does This Have to Do With Marketing?

I loved the creativity of the director’s idea. But I mostly loved how well it was executed.

Clearly, this idea could have gone off the rails early. But instead, the director kept the concept in check by making sure that the songs were always in service to the play, instead of distracting from the play.

The same lesson applies to creativity in marketing. You can’t just go with an idea because it’s cool or funny or innovative. Your creative ideas have to serve your larger marketing goals.

And when they don’t serve your larger goals, you need to change them.

When this constraint is forgotten or ignored, marketing campaigns can quickly become ineffective (or embarrassing!).

But if you can be creative while staying within these constraints, you can develop marketing campaigns that are truly special.

If you’d like to see this production of As You Like It, get your tickets soon. It runs through to the end of September.

Unfortunately, many of the dates have sold out—but a few tickets remain as of this writing.

Posted: August 22, 2018 in: Copperplate News

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