September 15, 2008

Luxury Brands Surging in Global Economy and Live Entertainment Showing the Way

NEW YORK, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the doom and gloom of recession worries, international sales of luxury goods continue to flourish. Among the white hot properties in the elite brand category is live entertainment. Across the globe, ticket buyers aren't flinching at spending hundreds of dollars for seats in sold-out venues. Creating the marketing campaigns that are catapulting theatrical productions into worldwide brands is a newly formed partnership between ad super shops SpotCo in New York and the venerable Dewynters in London. They represent the next generation of Broadway-bound shows that promise to rake in staggering profits from what was once only a local art form.

Luxury seems recession proof. The blue-chip brand Tiffany & Co. anticipates a 10% rise in total sales, just as the Bob Fosse musical Chicago is well on its way to generating a billion in revenue worldwide and shows no sign of slowing down. A SpotCo-Dewynters creative collaboration, the Chicago campaign has taken the show to 28 countries so far, raking in $850 million.

"We expect this theatrical juggernaut to keep on rolling in any economy," says SpotCo's Founder, President and Director of Creative Services Drew Hodges. "Theater and live events have become giant universal brands, often dwarfing the success of Hollywood films that go from movie theatre to DVD in an instant. Bottom line, live entertainment and Broadway are booming globally."

Why is this high-end luxury brand market still growing? Analysts believe the economic weakness in the West is offset by fast-growing emerging markets, where the ranks of the newly rich are creating demand for luxury labels that include American musicals and plays. U.S. status symbols from luxury furniture to Marc Jacobs designs, from limited edition Corvettes to Gulfstream Jets, are being snapped up in China, Russia, India and the Middle East. And who knows what the latest American export -- Michael Phelps, the 23-year-old Olympian with 11 golds and "the billion-dollar man" moniker -- can achieve as an international brand.

Yet as impressive as fashion, commercial jets and Olympic athletes are, SpotCo's Hodges predicts that live entertainment could really steal the show in profits, as new productions develop simultaneously across the globe with coordinated, groundbreaking campaigns that are sophisticated, engaging, and most importantly, can cut through an environment saturated with entertainment options.

What's coming up? After winning this year's Tony Award for Best Musical for In the Heights, the SpotCo agency is collaborating with the newly formed DreamWorks Theatrical on their first musical Shrek and Universal's Working Title on the smash hit Billy Elliot, already doing buffo box-office in Britain and Australia. Their theatrical coups continue with a musical version of Dirty Dancing, which is selling out in Toronto, a stage adaptation of the film Priscilla Queen of the Desert, a certified hit from Down Under, as well as 9 to 5, featuring new music and lyrics by the inimitable Dolly Parton and a gritty, bilingual revival of West Side Story.

   Contact:   NYC - Diane Blackman   212-989-3646   [email protected]    LA - Cindy Rakowitz   818-783-3307   [email protected]    

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CONTACT: NYC, Diane Blackman, +1-212-989-3646,[email protected]; or LA, Cindy Rakowitz, +1-818-783-3307,[email protected], both for SpotCo