local media insider

LA Weekly wins Top Ad for Geffen PlayHouse Campaign

Layering micro-proximity, device retargeting and a drag queen

Report for Geffen Theater midway through campaign

Media: LA Weekly

Client: Geffen Theater

Market: Los Angeles

Key executive: Mat Cooperstein, Publisher

Campaign: Performance of The Legend of Georgia McBride

Technology: Email, print, online and programmatic via AcCellerant

Objective: Geffen Playhouse has been an integral part of Los Angeles theater since opening its doors in 1995, noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its commitment to the development of new plays and cultivating relationships with Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwrights. They have also had a long relationship with the LA Weekly, and asked them to find new ways to promote an upcoming show, The Legend of Georgia McBride, a musical comedy about an Elvis Impersonator who intends to boost his career by becoming a drag queen.

Strategy: The LA Weekly’s publisher, Mat Cooperstien and the house accounts manager came up with a multi-media campaign that included print, website ads, and exclusive emails to both the 80,000 events email list and a smaller segmented theater email. They even arranged to having a drag queen appear in the lobby and take pictures of people attending the show.

A key component of the campaign was a  sexy new product:  Programmatic ads with microproximity and device retargeting, reaching  people on their mobile devices while they were attending in any ticketed live venue city-wide.

Due to its extensive events franchise,  the LA Weekly supplied the addresses of 766 live, ticketed venues,  using its programmatic partner AdCellerant to "map" the campaign to those specific venues, and reach people on their phones while they attended events. The campaign ran for five weeks prior to and during the show. 

Device retargeting “picks up” device information for anyone logged in on a device and retargets them for another 30 days. 

A total of 274,000 impressions were served over the month period prior to the show.

“There were not many impressions available; it’s  a limited number since they have to be logged on to location or an app in their device,” Coopertstein said, at some point before, during or after the show. 

However, for retargeting, “they don’t have to click on the advertisement; they could just be in that location playing poker or CandyCrush. In the “look-back” device targeting, if they have logged in, we can see them in the app or browser and find them later.”

Another challenge  track conversions since they were unable to place tracking code on the sale page of the ticketing site. They worked with the client to determine what would be considered a conversion and came up with a “time on page” determinant of 30 seconds or more.

Results:  The  274,000 impressions generated a .23 Click Through Rate (CTR)  for about 621 click-throughs and  241 “conversions” ie people who stayed on the site 30 seconds or longer.

Of the conversions, 78% clicked on the ads in real time and 22% came back after the fact, during the retargeting phase. 

“It is a really strong audience, sitting in the venue waiting for the show to start or during intermission,” Cooperstein said.  This data now belongs both to V Digital and Geffen, who can retarget these same people at a future date. 

“Success for Geffen Playhouse is really the sum total of everything we do,” Cooperstein said.   (The client) always sees  the total response and knows the LA Weekly works for her, and now we have AdCellerant which we can layer in and enhance the value of what we are doing.”

Judges notes: The V Digital has fielded another home run and is leading the way in showing how to successfully market events using new technologies. Judges like the use of proximity marketing and device retargeting to reach more deeply into a specific niche, a campaign "extra" that is fast becoming "best practice."  While a significant number of venues and length of time is neccesary for this type of targeting to work, smaller markets can broaden the reach to whole "tourist areas" and pool advertisers to make up the impressions required for a successful campaign. V Digital, which has corporate office in Phoenix, has also successfully developed segmented email lists and trained  the entire sales staff - 14 to 15 in this case - to sell all products.  

“We ask a lot of questions, figure out what makes sense, and provide what we need to,”  said Cooperstein, who personally works with house accounts manager to bring digital strategies to legacy accounts.

Congratulations to  Mat Cooperstein, V Digital and Geffen Playhouse for an innovative approach.


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