Trailer Park hitches a ride


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NEW YORK -- Trailer Park, known for its work on behalf of Hollywood in creating movie trailers, posters and TV ads, is following in the footsteps of such studios as Disney, Universal, MGM and DreamWorks Animation by taking its talents to Broadway.

It all started when the producers of "Wicked," brought to Broadway by Universal, hired Trailer Park in 2003 to create the key art for the show. Since then, Trailer Park has worked on the key art for "Legally Blonde" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and was hired this year by the League of American Theatres and Producers along with two other agencies to develop a new national branding campaign for Broadway to help promote shows running in New York, across North America and around the world.

"The idea of marketing theater or live entertainment is as exciting as marketing a movie," said Neal Spector, partner, executive vp and creative director at Trailer Park. "It's a smaller business, but it's just as exciting. Since being handed 'Wicked' as our first project, we have been exposed to the studios' involvement in theater and to producers in New York who take their business as seriously as they do on the filmmaker side."

Trailer Park also has ventured beyond Broadway to produce marketing materials for such live entertainment productions as Disney's "High School Musical" national stage tour, Disney on Ice, Disney Live and "Phantom of the Opera" at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

"Live entertainment is something we absolutely want to be in," Trailer Park president and COO Joel Johnston said. "We see a lot of entertainment conglomerates moving in that direction. When we saw the convergence of our passion with where Hollywood was already going, we thought this was the perfect fit for us."

Among the other studios that have adapted their Hollywood fare for Broadway are Disney with "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," "Tarzan" and, most recently, "Mary Poppins" and "The Little Mermaid"; MGM with "Legally Blonde"; New Line with the short-lived "The Wedding Singer" in 2006; and DWA with "Shrek," expected to open next year on Broadway.

Trailer Park said that for Broadway, it doesn't try to replicate movie trailers and other film marketing initiatives. "Broadway producers are not looking for movie ideas to sell their plays and musicals," Johnston said. "But we're looking at reaching an audience across the country. With 'Legally Blonde,' we saw it as a stage version of a movie, and that's reflected in the key art that's up right now."

Broadway still accounts for less than 10% of Trailer Park's business, but that figure has grown dramatically from the 0.5% in 2003 when the company began with "Wicked."

In a sign that Trailer Park has truly become a marketing star on Broadway, the League of American Theatres and Producers chose the Hollywood agency over veteran creative marketing agencies in New York that have serviced Broadway for years. Trailer Park will create the TV, print and outdoor ads for the Broadway branding campaign that will run in New York beginning in the spring as well as in other cities when shows travel there.

"The goal is to remind people that there's nothing like seeing a Broadway play," he said.