Shakespeare and marketing today - Part 2



Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

People love to talk about Shakespeare as a brand - a worldwide phenomenon, everyone knows the name "Shakespeare", don't they? I want you to consider "Shakespeare" as an agency. He was the head of a successful theatre company. Not only the leader of actors, directors and musicians but also key share holder in the Globe Theatre itself. As businessman he always had his eye on the box office. Shakespeare understood the power of marketing and was the master of rebranding. He repackaged, upgraded, modernised and resold the same stories again and again and again to his adoring fans who just could not get enough of Shakespeare PLC.

Take Romeo and Juliet for example, first performed in 1591. At the beginning the Chorus takes centre stage and tells 3000 paying customers packed into the “wooden ‘O’” (the Globe Theatre), that they are about to hear the story of Romeo and Juliet, exactly the same ancient tragic romance that they already know and love from trendy Italian novelles, made popular in verse by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and in prose by William Painter in 1567. Yes, the same tragic tale of two warring families whose young children fall in love, commit suicide and in doing so bring peace to the city of Verona, but now BUT NOW ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, you are going to experience it like you have never seen or heard it before - RandJ à la William Shakespeare, the “two hours traffic of our stage", unforgettable, mind-blowing, magical!

A budding brand and marketing expert would be wise to take a leaf or two from Mr Shakespeare’s approach to winning over his audience. When pitching to a new client how better to begin than to proudly announce that yes, this is the same yoghurt (I don’t know why I chose yoghurt, it was the first thing to come to mind) that your customers love but we are now going to show it in a way you have never seen or heard before…and you are going to love the experience, because we are in touch with what is hot and what is not, we are the best at repackaging, upgrading, modernising and reselling – just like Shakespeare, the King Rebrander, Master of Engagement!