Refresh your brand like Chicago the Musical

When I was in Waterloo station this week I saw a series of huge posters celebrating the 10th anniversary of the musical Chicago in London’s West End. Each poster features one of the stars who has played in the leading roles during this time.

I have been impressed by the way they have used a raft of different stars to play the lead roles during this time to keep the “brand” fresh. Over the years they have had Denise Van Outen and Ashlee Simpson playing Roxie, and Tony Hadley (ex Spandau Ballet), David Hasselhoff (!) playing Billy Flynn. Each time a new star is added, an ad campaign is run, with posters on the London Underground and also radio.

The latest addition to the cast is Kelly Osbourne, who stars “for 8 weeks only”  starting this week.

I think we can learn a few things from this:

1. Keep the brand fresh with new news

Chicago have used new stars to keep interest in the musical alive for 10 years. Each star works to both attract new users, but also to prompt people who have seen it once to go again, as my we did recently. For a product brand this could be launching new versions or formats.

2. Work on the product/sausage

Chicago have not relied on communication alone to keep the brand fresh, they have worked on the “product” itself by renewing the cast.

3. Create a sense of urgency

This is really clever. I guess there are many people who want to go and see a particular musical at some point; they have a latent desire. What the “limited season only” does is move these people into active purchase, as they want to see a specific star in action. I guess this is a bit like Disneyland Paris having a theme each year, such as the 15 year birthday celebrations this year. Or products doing limited edition versions.