Broadway – more than just a show

    Broadway ads РTimes Square, NYC, NY


What comes to mind when you think of New York City? For me, the words fast-paced, glamour, rough-around-the-edges, and dazzling. Sound like oxymorons? Yes, that is what New York City is to me, a place for anyone and everyone – the city that never sleeps.

Times Square is, perhaps, the most notable symbols of the New York lifestyle. This may be the most impeccable location for brands, companies, and individuals to advertise. Broadway, another integral part of the city’s identity, is located just off of the Square, and uses the popular tourist stomping grounds as a prime advertising district. Billboards are the most popular form of marketing in the City, with some boards turning to electronic methods to display ads or other public messages. Broadway, however, is sticking to its classic and iconic paper billboards, shouting loud to the world that Broadway is eternal.

Noted in the picture above are an array of Broadway billboards, all echoing the themes and storyline of  popular plays and musicals currently running in the City. I loved walking through Times Square and reflecting on the infinite variety of ads, but those belonging to the minds and talent of Broadway struck me in a more impactful way.

A standout billboard comes from the celebrated minds behind Kinky Boots. You can immediately pick out a Kinky Boots ad by a pair of larger-than-life shiny red boots. This billboard is incredibly successful, in my opinion, at presenting the narrative of the musical, a bold, glamorous, and sometimes sad, journey towards societal and individual acceptance. These symbolic “drag” boots represent the needs of those not accepted in society to be heard, seen, and recognized. The inward facing legs also hint at the insecurity of the one who wears the boots, who, by the end of the story, wears the footwear with pride and exuberance.

While many advertisements and designs only tell part of a story, sometimes even misleading consumers, Broadway continues to do an epic job at telling an entire story, and sending impactful messages, all through a few images and words arranged on a page (or Billboard). As they say in theater, the show must go on, and Broadway certainly will endure the test of time through the talent of its casts, and the behind-the-scenes talent of the graphic designers involved.


*note – references to “New York” and the “City” refer to New York City (as it is important to recognize the extreme differences between New York City and New York state!)

Discussion — One Response

  • Kobe Baglio 02/15/2019 on 9:05 AM

    I love NYC and I’m from Queens, NY originally! There is nothing better than Broadway – I saw Kinky Boots and loved it. I always have appreciated the advertisement, making the legs into a K was definitely the way to go. Broadway advertisements are great at encapsulating the overall theme of the show – which is an underlying principle of communication design. Do you believe that the placement of this specific advertisement in relation to the others around it impacts it general visibility? *Times Square is way too crowded*

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