Case Study

Assignment:

Leverage the amazing music in Dear Evan Hansen to drive excitement around the cast album release and buzz for the show.

The Solution:

We began work on Dear Evan Hansen almost two years before the show opened on Broadway. But from the very beginning, it was clear that there was a small, but rabid fan base who were incredible supporters of the show and hungry for content. We quickly realized the key to activating this fan base was through personal, one-to-one communication and by eventizing the content delivery process.

Step 1: Before the show started performances on Broadway (and a full six months before the cast album release), we wanted to give our fans what they were begging us for—a taste of the music. So unannounced, we streamed the song “Only Us” on our website for six hours.

Step 2: Based on our fans’ reactions, we knew we were onto something. So one month later, we identified 1,000 special fans on Twitter—some were folks who had simply seen the show Off-Broadway or in D.C. who had Tweeted about how much they loved the show and others were influencers who we knew were fans. Over the course of 24 hours, we personally tweeted customized messages to those fans with a download link to “Only Us.” Our fans responded with gratitude and excitement which in turn amplified our content more than we ever could have done on our own.

Step 3: In celebration of our first performance, we partnered with Periscope (whose CEO is coincidentally named Evan Hansen) to host an exclusive event that included pre-show interviews with the creative team, a live-stream of the first Broadway curtain call, and a live premiere of our “Only Us” music video at the same time it was performed on Broadway for the very first time.

Step 4: Taking a cue from Beyonce, we released an exclusive 24-hour stream of another song from the show, “Reqiuem,” and added it as a download for anyone who pre-ordered the album.

Step 5: February 3, 12:00AM EST—we reached the climax of two years of work with a “Digital Listening Party.” Fans, who had been alerted through social and our newsletter, were now able to queue up their copy of the cast recording with our video featuring song-by-song commentary from composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and music supervisor Alex Lacamoire.

The Results:

Dear Evan Hansen debuted at No.8 on the Billboard chart—the highest debut by a cast recording since 1961—even higher than Hamilton! We can say for sure that the ongoing, personal, one-to-one communication with our fans truly helped give this one-of-a-kind show the debut it deserved.

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