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Industry Business equipment & services, Corporate Image
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Integrated Campaign Led by PR
Product/Service: THEATER COMPANY
Executive Creative Director: Trevor Kennedy (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Creative Director / Senior English Copy Writer: Lalindra Nanayakkara (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Creative Group Head / Senior Sinhala Copy Writer: Dileep Kulathunga (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Creative Group Head / Senior Art Director: Athula Kathriarachchi (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Art Director: Danushka Kathriarachchi (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Consultant Audio Visual Productions: Shalini Senaratne (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Manager Audio Visual Productions: Mehnaz Ilhamdeen (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Manager Digital Art Production: Ranjith Perera (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Senior Digital Art Production: Suranga Fernando (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Director Brand Planning: Murtaza A. Tajbhoy (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Brand Planning Executive: Anjula Rasanga Weerasinghe (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Executive Audio Visual Productions: Mohamed Ikram (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Executive Audio Visual Productions: Neesha Piyasena (Leo Burnett Solutions)
Media placement: PR - Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, FaceBook, Twitter, - 14 May 2009
Media placement: Press - SundayTimes, Daily Mirror - 14 May 2009
Media placement: Radio - E-FM - 14 May 2009
Media placement: Digital - FaceBook, YouTube & Twitter - 14 May 2009
Media placement: Poster - Commons, Bayleaf, Caef On 5th (Restourents, Cafes & Other Public Places Where Ou - 15 May 2009
Media placement: Public Notice & Cut Outs - Commons, Bayleaf, Caef On 5th (Restourents, Cafes & Other Public Places Where Ou - 15 May 2009
Media placement: TV - ETV - 05 June 2009
Media placement: Viral - YouTube , LKTube - 10 June 2009
Media placement: Souvenir In The Form Of A Government Gazette - Lionel Wendt (The Theatre Venue) - 19 June 2009

Summary of the Campaign
In theatre communications, the primary objective is usually to get the highest number of seats filled during performance nights. However, StageLight&Magic Inc. (SLM) had an added challenge in bringing back a popular and unique brand to life and to continue to create a loyal base of followers. In 2008, Chaminda Pusswedilla (Puss as he is affectionately known) was introduced with the political satire “Thank you for Voting” where Puss launched a successful campaign to become the President. ‘Hon. Puss’ was the first time that a sequel had to be done for a play. In the inimitable style of a politician, Chaminda Pusswedilla – ‘Puss’ was back on stage, now in the highest office as the President of the country The campaign was built around the idea of a laughter tax which the President proposed to introduce. Hon’ble Puss’ laughter tax made it to the news and was discussed on popular talk shows creating a national buzz about this President and his policies. The response to the campaign was overwhelming with an audience counting more than 3000 and tickets being sold at a premium on eBay!

The Goal
We had to ensure that the seats will be full for the Hon.Puss play which is the sequel of the Pusswedilla play which was launched in 2007. Since the character Puss had a loyal following through various means such as Facebook, we knew whom we are talking to and their interests. This made it easier to bring a part of the current political scenario (Taxing) in to our campaign, again which was relevant to the play as well.

3470 tickets were sold ensuring full houses on 4 nights. Final two night’s additional 100 people stood and watched the play. SL cricket team playing the 20/20 world cup finals couldn’t stop people watching the play. Tickets were sold in the black market at 3 times the price and were in fact on sale on e-bay! Due to high demand, a repeat performance was held again with a full house. Over 2000 Facebook friends. His views on important matters pertaining to society are being taken into consideration by marketers and even the regulators! Many references are also made to Puss, in so many places by so many different people. Puss has become a part of the local idiom. The most interesting one of them all is a remark by a Minister on a political platform defending the country’s President stating that he is no Pusswedilla! (Media monitoring).

Created an absurd tax on laughter to arouse the curiosity of our audience and communicate about the play. We used usual media that a tax announcement would deploy, starting with a public notice and a media statement with media interviews, discussions and debates in the mainline media. Then took the message to the public domain, for this purpose we deployed posters, stickers etc., giving more details of the tax in all languages. Like in real life political matters, we impersonated opposition leaders & other popular figure voices to have contradictory point of views, which became TV, radio spots & viral videos. Puss declared the theatre venue to be a tax-free zone. Then the details of the production were released via online media and the press. A discount voucher was printed in the newspaper offering value of the ticket, titled as the Pusswedilla Economic Relief voucher, which draw initial sales.

The Situation
Just like in real life political scenario we introduced our absurd laughter tax to public through the usual methods that a real government would use to communicate. Due to the relevance of the play and the government it had to be communicated through nontraditional mediums in order to get the desired curiosity and hype from our audience.

The Strategy
Highly successful “Pusswedill” stage play was launched in 2007. Challenge was to follow up on the first campaign which used real life political tactics and make it relevant to the times. The character ‘Puss’ had a following & the theatre company had greater ambition for this staging of Puss. Sri Lankan government uses taxes as its regular income generator. E.g. A brand new vehicle is taxed at 310% of the price! There is a tax to build the nation and a tax on using your credit card! Another absurd tax on laughter was an engaging way to arouse the interest of people. It was especially relevant because the play was a parody on the office of the Executive President, whose prerogative was to levy taxes as and when required. It brought Puss to life in a fresh and engaging way.