Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'
Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.
June 2nd, 2016watch now
by Michelle Lefevre
We've all been in a theatre, before a show or after a show and perused the messy, confusing mass of publicity flyers for other productions "coming soon" to the venue you're standing in.
They vary in size and quality but they all have one thing in common. They are completely impractical and most of the printed space on them is taken up with things you don't want to know or don't need to know.
One flyer we viewed recently, for a theatre production, was nothing more than pull quotes from critics top to bottom alongside the most boring photograph you have ever seen. Far from encouraging us to come and see the show it was more like a crucifix to a vampire. "Flee", it screamed, "save yourselves", so we did!
So what happens when you make things small, neat, portable and, perhaps, even desirable?
Let's imagine that upon entering a theatre you are presented with not a cheap flyer rack with a bunch of badly designed scraps of paper in them but a far nicer and cleaner display as illustrated below.
What we have here is simple. A large(ish) poster illustrates the show itself with what we call a P-PoD (pointless picture of a dancer) along with the associated marketing blurb.
Next to the poster we have a small holder that contains the actual flyers. Except, they're not flyers at all, not really. They're simple little cards (the same size as a credit card or a business card) that the interested theatre goer can pluck from the display and take with them.
The cards are simple, robust and easy to slip into a pocket unlike the current crop of handouts that need to be folded a dozen times before they can be put away.
You use the poster to get the attention of the masses and the pull-card to give them something to take away. We'll get to the "QR" code thing in a bit.
So what about the card designs themselves?
We've put together a mock-up (below) for the front and back of the card. The company is fictional, primarily to stop anybody getting upset.
Although the cards are very small, relatively speaking, you can fit more than enough information onto them for your prospective audience. In fact the size works in your favour because the less space you have to fill, the less likely you are to go crazy with lots of gibberish that nobody cares about.
The bottom of the rear of the cards would be left blank for over-printing by the receiving venue.
Some of you are probably thinking, "those things will be too small", "nobody will be able to read that!"
Our response? Do you have problems reading the information on your credit card, or a business card or your cell phone? Because those are all the same size as the designs shown above and the most important pieces of information (the date and time of the show) are nice and bold and very easy to read.
Who knows, if the cards are well designed, maybe they'll become collectable?
The back of the design, in the lower right corner, features something called a "QR" code or Quick Response code. They were developed back in the mid 1990's by a Japanese car company, of all things, and they work in much the same way as the barcodes on everything you have ever bought.
You read the code using a cell phone running a QR code reader. Such applications are available for all the major smart phones currently in the wild from iPhones to Android to Windows 7 Phones.
All you do is run the application on your phone, point the camera at the QR code and the software will scan it in less than a second revealing the information the code holds.
Go ahead, give it a try, the QR code on the demo design actually works.
The codes themselves can hold various types of information including plain text, phone numbers, etc. Generating the codes is easy (and free), you can use a number of online resources to get the codes saying exactly what you need them to say. The QR code itself is just a graphic that can be easily built into any design.
A code is also included on the poster so people don't even need to take the card with them. They just zap the code and they have all the information they need.
Once the information is on the users phone they can keep it for themselves or easily forward that information to others via text message or email. It's almost too easy.
Playing the Advantage
For a company or individual dance maker, this type of advertising presents a number of advantages. First of all the cards are cheaper to print and transport, through the mail, than bulkier flyers. 10,000 of them can be had for about £300 and that's double sided in full colour, less than half the cost of a double sided A5 limp lettuce affair.
Posters are still going to cost you but you do need a lot less of those to begin with and 10 A2 ones are going to hurt to the tune of about £90.
Venues will be more visually appealing with neat poster/card combos rather than the messy flyer farms they have right now. If the venue doesn't have room for posters then..... well, close it down. What's the point of being a venue if you don't have space to advertise the shows that are coming up?
The cards are much smaller so use a lot less resources to produce which is good for mother earth. You could also go easy on the number you actually have made which helps on both the cost and environmental fronts. A lot of this advertising stuff just gets thrown out. Yes, maybe some of it gets recycled but it's far better not to make it in the first place if you don't need it.
QR codes make it easier for people to share information about the show. There is a learning curve to overcome but good design on the poster or promo card can help that along by illustrating what you actually do with the QR code.
Doing all of this might take a bit of effort, especially when we're talking about theaters and their incumbent personnel, but change needs to come to make things a bit more user friendly for the paying customer and a bit easier and cheaper for the visiting company.
This is just one idea, what have you got?