July 1, 2007

The ‘Blackbird’ Poster and How Much It Sucks, Because By Gum These People Have to Get the Message.

t opiate                posted 7 Jun 2007, 12:26 PM / edited 7 Jun 2007, 10:45 PM

I want to see this show so much, but I don’t know if I can. Posters are important, you know. The one for this (allegedly outstanding) show, is lazy, dull and devoid of information. It no doubt sells the work short.

Congratulations, Circa. You took a (no doubt) committed production of a difficult play and sold it to the world via something resembling an ad for the Gentle Dental Centre.  For shame. Really.  Sort your bleeding act out.  Thought you’d scraped enough barrell with ‘Heroes’ and ‘Dirty Weekends: Vanya Style!’

another anonymous moaner       posted 7 Jun 2007, 01:12 PM / edited 7 Jun 2007, 01:13 PM

in all fairness to circa, the fault lies with the terrible graphic design company they use.  I’ve been in co-ops where they’ve been paid huge amounts for some piece of crap anyone with photoshop could have done in 10 minutes.

t opiate                posted 7 Jun 2007, 01:20 PM / edited 7 Jun 2007, 01:39 PM

Yeah, of course. So the message is really: dump the company. They aren’t good. Perhaps Circa could offer individual contracts for theatre posters through spaces like this one and the Big Idea?

Hey – that’s a fantastic idea. Please tell me, Circa types, why this wouldn’t work. I understand there may be an existing contract with this awful company – so ride it out, fine. Then get individual designers or companies to bid for contracts with their work. What’s wrong with that? Really? I guarantee the quality of the posters would go up 500%.

By the way, Circa, I’m on the side of ‘stuff that doesn’t suck’ here, so don’t take any of this too personal-like. I just think the quality of the poster design should reflect the quality of the show it advertises.

Robert Vitale      posted 7 Jun 2007, 03:08 PM

I agree. I don’t know who the poster is targeted at, and who it would appeal to. Circa gets it right sometimes – their posters for The Bach and Bash were amazing, but flukes really. Look at the publicity that companies in Australia put out – the Sydney Theatre Company posters are fantastic, and REALLY make you want to go. Their image for Blackbird is really mysterious, and captures the tone of the play in a way that the “dental clinic” pitch doesn’t even begin to. Auckland gets it right too in terms of publicity – their posters and flyers are great!!

Get a new company – maybe someone that follows international design trends!!!

Paul       posted 8 Jun 2007, 12:05 AM

so true – it does look like an ad for gentle dental centre. the play sounds great though. not even a mega-crappy poster will put me off.

Marc      posted 11 Jun 2007, 11:09 AM

The only thing worse than being talked about….

Circa must be thrilled. Seldom before has their publicity ever attracted this much attention. Pity it’s because it’s so bad. At least it is creating some badly needed buzz about their productions. Well done. Do whatever it takes!!!

Isabel Howden posted 12 Jun 2007, 01:50 PM

I was interested to notice this forum as i was looking to read a review of Blackbird. I was dragged to this production by a friend, one i would never have chosen to go to after seeing the ugly poster all around town. Thank god i went it was one of the most challenging and engaging pieces of theatre i have ever seen. It really remind me of the beauty of theatre and the power of live performance.

I wonder how the actors feel about being represented by this image, who decides on it? Surely it is a collaborative thing?

What disappointed me the most about the poster was it’s failure to capture the essence of the play. It looks more like a murder mystery than a gritty piece of contemporary theatre.  Even the blurb on the back of the flyer badly reflects the actual issues of the play… is this Circa trying to not put off their trusted audience by the confrontational nature of the piece? Surely it is better to advertise to your target market as opposed to an older audience who are not going to enjoy the play anyway? (the night i went a group from a retirement village had been allocated the first two rows… hmmmm…).

If you’re brave enough to stage this production be brave enough to acknowledge the darkness of human nature and the pusing of moral boundaries that it encapsulates in your publicity, otherwise it’s just false advertising!

I also am aware of the cost of advertising on this scale, Circa must therefore also be aware of the effectiveness of it or they wouldn’t buy into it.  It is so important to use a striking image to capture attention of potential patrons- in particular the younger market. With the hoardes of design students being churned out of Wellington Tertiary institutions surely there is an ample selection of young talent to choose from for this task.

Please Circa bring in the new blood!! It is the 21st Century now.

t opiate                posted 12 Jun 2007, 04:17 PM

I still haven’t gone. And it’s all because of the poster. My loss? Maybe. But they’re the ones who are down $35.

chorus posted 12 Jun 2007, 05:39 PM

Hey Circa! coo-eee! You there Circa? Anyone there? want to help us out here??

Michael Wray    posted 13 Jun 2007, 10:47 AM

As a regular Circa attendee, I can say that I rarely notice the promotional posters for shows and they certainly play no part in my decision to go to a show – just as I don’t buy CDs or books based on their covers.  I do read the promotional blurb about a show and then google the play or author f I need more info.  Uninspiring poster design could prevent new audience members from being attracted, but I’d suggest that for the existing set it is not an issue.

With regard to Blackbird, the full photo makes more sense after having seen the play.  The poster is a detail from the full photo, so that sense is lost. Neither the full or detail image convey much if you haven’t seen the play yet.

It would be interesting to hear directly from Circa….

Marc      posted 13 Jun 2007, 02:38 PM

Correct. As a regular Circa attendee, Michael, you not the one promotional material is aimed it. And there’s a new twist in the tale, putting out posters AFTER people have seen the play.

t opiate                posted 13 Jun 2007, 02:54 PM

I’m pleased people seem to feel the same way I do about Circa’s poster quality. And credit where credit is due – the poster for ‘The Country’ was good. So good I had trouble believing it was a Circa show.

I found the full photo from which the ‘Blackbird’ poster image is taken, and can see the context. However, even the full photo looks like a dentist ad. Or a Yellow Pages one.

I’m staring to crack though. ‘Last ten performances’ is having its intended effect, and I may still fork over the hard-earned. But the poster for ‘Fat Pig’, while not as enormously offensive to good taste as the ‘Blackbird’ one, seems like a cop-out to me. It looks like a nice love story. And a variation on that old ‘is-it-a-vase-or-two-faces’ illustration. Why not do the whole thing with type? Or have an unflattering photo of the actor playing the title role in a bikini? Or any number of things? However, to stay on topic, the ‘Blackbird’ poster sucks. Interesting that no one has come to its defence in the last week or so. And Circa remains silent.

joshua judkins   posted 13 Jun 2007, 05:07 PM

t opiate – Go. It’s a really good show. I was glad to see the furore over the poster for Blackbird (because it meant I didn’t have to make any), but it’s a silly reason not to see a great production of an excellent script.

I could be totally incorrect, but I’d say we can all stop hassling Circa about this one – I’m sure the point has been well made, and the lack of defense suggests it has been taken to heart.

If I was to conclude this thread, it be thusly:

Circa’s ‘Blackbird’ –  great production, see it before it finishes.

The poster for Circa’s ‘Blackbird’ – totally off the mark, enough so to be a catalyst for a wider discussion on the need for a more relevant (to the play and the audience) and dynamic theatre posters, both at Circa and everywhere else in the city…

Gavin Rutherford             posted 14 Jun 2007, 06:50 PM

As a kinda ‘Circa’ type I thought I would add to this by saying posters and publicity images done for the Circa season are set up well in advance. I understand they are shot and designed (with the design company) through the director and the Circa Council. Correct me if I am wrong Circa Council members?? I just know that when I turn up for a Circa co-op production the publicity is (usually) well finished. They have only just employed Bridget as a part time publicist for the building and the productions. Maybe things will get better? They are reviewing things all the time so feedback is very6 much appreciated I am sure. Write some letters people? Tell ’em how much you hate how they look and make suggestions? Then things will change.

Bridget Kidd       posted 15 Jun 2007, 02:27 PM   

I am the Marketing Manager at Circa Theatre and would like to say that we appreciate any feedback you may have on our productions, venue, service and marketing materials including posters and flyers. So, it’s been interesting to read your posted forum thoughts on the Blackbird and other Circa flyers. Our images are compiled for the main Season Brochure and then often extrapolated from this publication to produce a flyer, for consistency purposes. This means that often, our images need to be developed up to a year in advance of the production’s opening night, and often within a very short time frame. However, saying that, we were very pleased with our Season Brochure and the designer who worked with us on it. The designer is given a brief by the Marketing Manager and the Directors of each play. We are always open to ideas and suggestions, so any constructive recommendations would be greatfully received. We’d be particularly interested in hearing what you like and dislike about each flyer/image so that we can take this into account for future designs. Feel free to email me any ideas at marketing@circa.co.nz 

Milky     posted 20 Jun 2007, 11:05 PM / edited 20 Jun 2007, 11:06 PM

Yes! I agree! Hey, why not tell us all what your programme is when you know and then we can all submit ideas for posters and the best ones as voted here get the money and the poster. Now that’s publicity.

Jamie     posted 1 Jul 2007, 09:33 AM

The Falling Petals poster is brilliant as BATS posters so often are. How do they get theirs done?

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