For the past few seasons, Bard has been working with the digital team at Murray Paterson Marketing Group (MPMG) to tell our unique story and share our productions with the city (and further afield). We’re so proud to work with this industry leader, which just picked up the Best PR Firm in Vancouver award (Georgia Straight, 2017 BEST OF VANCOUVER Awards) for the third year in a row.
Bard’s programming, paired with our beautiful location in Vanier Park, is the heart of an imaginative marketing campaign that excites and engages our audiences year after year.
MPMG Partner and Head of Digital + Marketing, Brian Paterson, shared with us what he thinks is unique about Bard on the Beach, and how that inspires them to showcase our season.
What do you think is different or unique about Bard on the Beach?
For me, there are two major factors that elevate Bard on the Beach to the cherished position it occupies in so many hearts and minds:
One: You have the best programming in the world. Shakespeare’s collected works paint some of the most nuanced, truthful, and profound portraits of who we are as a species.
Experiencing these plays is at times joyful, at times sorrowful, but always a thrilling exercise in discovering ourselves.
Two: You also have the best location in the world. Nature – like Shakespeare – invites us to reflect and connect to something much older and much greater than our individual selves. I can imagine few better places to make this connection that gazing on the unrivalled beauty of Vancouver’s mountains and water.
How do you use those unique characteristics to shape how you tell our story?
For audiences outside of Vancouver, we begin with the setting. We take a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach by featuring spectacular aerial photos that show off the Bard tents and surrounding vistas.
For local audiences, the play’s the thing. We assume a certain level of familiarity with the location (many of us see the tents during our daily commutes, after all), and instead concentrate on showcasing the individual productions in each season.
Speaking to the individual productions is especially important in works such as The Two Gentlemen of Verona – or last season’s Pericles – where the story and characters might be less familiar. We use tools including Facebook Advertising to guide potential audiences towards resources like the play synopsis or production reviews so that they can decide for themselves if it’s a story that excites them.
For our 2017 season, what element were you most excited about using in a different way?
This is going to be very nerdy, but… Facebook Canvas!
Society is changing quickly, and one of the most recent, sudden changes is how much time we spend on our mobile devices. Despite this, the traditional website remains built for desktop and only adaptive for phones or tablets.
Since upwards of 95% of Facebook browsing is done on mobile devices, they’ve developed a special tool that allows us to build interactive, intriguing experiences where we can direct our ads. This year, we used it to create experiences that showcased our BMO Mainstage productions: The Winter’s Tale and Much Ado About Nothing.
Is there one part of our story that you think people respond to most?
I don’t think it’s any one part. In fact, I would say what people respond to most is greater than the sum of Bard’s parts.
When audience members go to Bard, they’re not going just to see a play. The experience doesn’t begin at curtains up (metaphorically speaking).
A night at Bard often begins before audiences even get to the grounds; with a walk or bike ride along the seawall or a picnic in Vanier Park. Inside the gates, it continues with the verve and excitement of the Bard Village. And as we watch the sun set behind the stage, the experience continues.