marketing agency trades off Bryan Cranston’s “Breaking Bad” star power in its
campaign for the Tony Award®-winning drama.

NEW YORK—The Broadway production of ALL THE WAY (produced by Jeffrey Richards, Louise
Gund and Jerry Frankel) wrapped up
its run at the Neil Simon Theatre on June 29th in spectacular
fashion, playing to standing room only audiences and grossing over $1.6 million
in ticket sales in its last week alone, an all-time record for a straight play.
The packed houses served as a fitting crescendo for the show—which earlier won
Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
(Bryan Cranston)—and for AKA NYC the
entertainment marketing firm behind its innovative advertising and marketing

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan, ALL THE
WAY is a political drama about the
passage of the Civil Rights Act during the Johnson Administration. Cranston,
fresh from his Emmy Award-winning performance in the AMC television series Breaking Bad, starred as the 36th
President. The show came to Broadway following a limited run last fall at
Boston’s American Repertory Theater. It premiered in February, less than six
months after the final episode of Breaking
aired on AMC.
To launch the production, AKA developed a multi-tiered
advertising and marketing campaign including print, outdoor and web
advertising, direct mail, social media outreach and a website. Serving as its
centerpiece was a unique television ad
aimed at transforming some of Cranston’s legions of television
fans into theater goers. “It was very much a television-driven strategy,”
explains AKA Client Services Group Director Melissa Marano. “We wanted to
introduce Bryan Cranston, whom television audiences knew as Walter White, as
this new (real life) character, LBJ.”
AKA Broadcast Director Jamaal Parham and Executive Creative
Director Bashan Aquart flew to Los Angeles in early December to shoot Cranston
performing key moments from the play. Those became a carefully calibrated
series of ads, the
first of which
broke on AMC just after Christmas
during marathon screenings of Breaking
While trading on Cranston’s star power, the television spots also sought
to draw viewers into the political intrigue at the heart of the play. “It has
to be engaging,” says Parham. “You want people to want to be part of the
story…you want to invite them to come along for the ride.”
“We made it a point to show people that this play was not a
history lesson,” he adds. “Our references were House of Cards and West Wing.
It’s politics as entertainment.”
At the same time, AKA began to roll out a flurry of print, outdoor
and web ads. A direct marketing campaign, aimed at established theater
audiences, produced impressive results, generating a 300-percent return on
investment. Analytical retargeting efforts through Google and Ticketmaster were
even more successful, producing a ratio of ticket sales to dollars spent in
excess of 10 to 1.
AKA’s social media campaign also produced ample dividends.
Facebook and Twitter outreach ranged from historical information about the
Johnson Administration to short interviews with Cranston and other members of
the cast. One backstage encounter, where Cranston used Instagram to help a
young fan arrange a prom date, went viral and generated press worldwide. “We’re
top to tail,” notes Marano. “It’s marketing, it’s promotion, it’s analysis,
it’s creative, it’s social, we encompass every facet of the marketing
All of these efforts helped make ALL THE WAY one of the biggest
success stories in recent Broadway memory. “It’s very difficult to acquire new
patrons for a serious play, but we did that here,” concludes Marano. “It was
accomplished through smart storytelling and the star power of Bryan Cranston. It
was the right show with the right actor at the right time, which is to the
credit of Producer Jeffrey Richards…and our collaboration with him to deliver
the advertising campaign.”
Agency: AKA
Jamaal + Bashan
AKA Creative
Director: Bashan Aquart
Broadcast Director: Jamaal Parham
Producer: Adam Coffia
Lauren Hunter
Editor: Jamaal
Graphics: Roman Micevic
Designer Rob
Michael Townley
Producer: Casey Levine
Correction: The Mill
Mixing: Plush NYC
Shot at
Siren Studios in Los Angeles, CA
View the
television campaign here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AllTheWayBroadway/featured
About AKA
AKA is a global,
full-service advertising agency with offices in the U.S., UK and Australia.
The AKA Group, including Digital Media
and the film advertising agency The Creative Partnership,
delivers creative, strategic and insightful campaigns to the entertainment
industry worldwide.
The New York
office, led by Elizabeth Furze and Scott Moore, delivers innovative solutions
across media, marketing, partnerships, interactive, creative, broadcast, box
office and ticketing, and campaign management, with a proven record for
producing sales-driven campaigns for premium, must-see productions, venues,
exhibitions and events.
Current and recent NYC clients include: 2014 Tony
Award Best Play winner All the Way, 2012 Tony Award® Best Musical winner
Once, Matilda The Musical, Rock of Ages,
2010 Tony Award Best Musical
winner Memphis, A Christmas Story The Musical, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark,
Queen of the Night, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Trip to Bountiful
, The
Glass Menagerie
and It’s Only a Play.
For more information, visit akanyc.net
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