Can sex help sell tickets?
Leaders of Orlando Ballet are banking on it.
A promotional brochure highlights “hotter dancing” on its cover and proclaims, “We’re bringing sexy back.” The poster for the modern “Battle of the Sexes” program, which opens tonight, goes one step further: Sexy is back, it shouts in all capital letters.
Juan Escalante, the ballet’s executive director, says the campaign is a way “to make ballet accessible and not so intimidating.”
Marketing experts agree that broadening an organization’s appeal is crucial for long-term success, but they caution there are risks whenever an established group tries to re-brand itself. “I think there’s a risk, but I think it’s a necessary risk,” said Wendy Connor, president of True Marketing, which promotes the touring Broadway shows that come to Orlando. “If you don’t develop new audiences, your business isn’t going to grow.”
The biggest risk, of course, is alienating current fans. “You could possibly get push back from traditional patrons,” said Connor, who this year received negative comments on “Rock of Ages,” a younger-skewing Broadway show with 1980s rock anthems. At Orlando Ballet, Escalante said, some board members expressed concern before agreeing to proceed with the campaign.
Escalante said he is monitoring reaction.