“Wicked” Public Relations

This is the graphic featured on the World of Wicked pamphlet and posters.

Twelve Oaks Mall has its own wicked display for the Halloween season- literally.  The spherical World of Wicked 2011 display is in the Lord & Taylor court from October 14-November 6.  Wicked the musical is coming to the Detroit Opera House in December, so the display features a few costumes and a running video of the musical.  The World of Wicked is not only about the musical.  It has brought a trio of PR, advertising, and marketing with it.

The Wicked trailer:

At the beginning of the semester we talked about the differences between PR, advertising, and marketing.  World of Wicked utilizes all three.  First, mall stores received a letter/ pitch of sorts detailing the World of Wicked display and the opportunities it would give stores to create a “Wicked Deal”. This, along with the photo op asking customers to take a picture and post it on World of Wicked’s Facebook page, are good examples of how PR functions in the World of Wicked event.  Here is the press release about the partnership between Wicked and the Taubman malls.

The “Wicked Deal” is a good marketing ploy.  Where I work at Pretzelmaker/TCBY we have a 10% off orders of $10 deal if you bring the pamphlet; stores who opted to create a deal got printed in a special pamphlet called a “passport to Oz” and featured on the World of Wicked page, as well as a large window sticker advertising their participation.  Customers get to participate not only in the deals themselves, but by collecting stamps on the back of the pamphlet from the participating deal locations.  Once they collect all stamps, they fill out the pamphlet and enter to win prizes.

World of Wicked advertises for more than one venue by being at the mall.  Most obvious are the mall, the stores, and the display itself that receive advertising through posters at mall entrances and on the website.  Ticketmaster gets advertising- they are located in the mall and are currently selling tickets to the musical.  Broadway in Detroit gets advertising on the website, and Wicked gets it all.  With so many things Wicked oriented, it makes people think about it every time they see one of the participating stores, the display, an entrance, etc.  It doesn’t matter if they know what Wicked is about going in- the job of the display is to draw them in.  It could not receive as much exposure and success without the trio of PR, marketing, and advertising that goes into the display and the overall World of Wicked campaign.

Katie Siskonen


24 thoughts on ““Wicked” Public Relations

  1. Katie,

    for some reason, I have always had difficulty seeing where the line is drawn for all three. Now, that you have been able to spell it all out for me, I am able to see the line better. It is kind of amazing to see how they are all linked in in some way and how extraordinarily effective it can be when all three devices are used properly. Haha, I have to admit, based on your trailer, ,I’m somewhat intrigued to see the play or read the book. I read one of the other ones by the same author about Cinderella, and I had always meant to read Wicked and never got around to it. Maybe I will now. I guess not even being present in the Twelve Oaks Mall, I have still some how been affected by one of the devices!


  2. Dayna,

    I also have difficulty differentiating between the three. When we first read that chapter my head was swimming because they sounded so similar. They still do, though writing this blog post made me think about it more in depth and so I feel like I understand it a little bit better now. At least im hoping I got it right!

    I saw Wicked in New York back in 2006, and it was really good. I had never heard of it at that point either. I read the book afterward and it was a lot different than the musical. Its similar to how books translate into movies.

  3. Absolutly perfect, I believe rent did the same exact thing when they released the movie a couple of years back, Wicked is a classic musical which really doesnt need that much PR to sell, but with todays technology and promotion, the addition of all of those things are absolutly perfect to help sell out shows, having both previous fans and perhaps newer fans after this musical runs again. It’s only a matter of time before they re-envente theirselfs and having Twitter along with facebook and new marketing techniqes are allowing this musical to become new again

  4. Katie,

    I like how you discussed all three areas. It can be confusing and it seems they can easily overlap. I have not seen Wicked, but I’m sure will all this publicity more people will be interested in seeing the show.

    I like the example you used for PR. They are engaging the audience and keeping them involved, as well as using social media. Marketing that “wicked deal” is an awesome idea and I’m sure very affective, along with the posters all over the mall for advertisement. I appreciate you pointing out the differences.

    What do you think is most affective?

    Taylor 🙂

  5. Katie,
    I had read the book, and it was amazing!! It would be even better to see it in the play, and your video about it really did justice to summarizing the story and giving people an idea of what Wicked is really all about. Also, i enjoyed seeing the differences between advertising, marketing, and PR in this particular event. I was going to ask the same question as Taylor, but to piggyback off her question, which one had the most information and was the most complete (had the most “meat” to their ideas and strategies for the consumer?) I hope I’m making myself clear lol…it happens in these blogs where what I’m trying to say or ask doesn’t come off the way I type it .

    • Taylor and Jaleesa,
      I would say that the marketing component of World of Wicked was the biggest component, and gave the most strategies. They gave stores the opportunity to participate, which gave the display further reason to be in the mall. The products that some stores offered were specifically Wicked themed, like a mint shake from Godiva and a special bracelet from Tappers. However, in this case I don’t think any of the components on their own would be as effective. Having an advertisement somewhere might get some people who don’t know about Wicked to research it, but having an actual display with information and drawings for prizes gives people a reason to know what Wicked is.

      • That’s what I had gotten myself from reading your blog; I had wanted to see if I was onto something or I wasn’t giving enough credit where it was due. Thanks for the response!

  6. I didn’t even know what Wicked was until this article. Seeing so much advertising and such for one thing lets me know they’re serious. I’d say their smartest decision was to advertise in a mall. I’m sure they have merchandise available in stores located in that specific mall so it works out. Wicked has a great PR team. They’re aware that people go to mall most of the time to look. So a large out of the ordinary display is bound to catch the attention of someone passing by. Its similar to the whole Eastern Bunny and Santa Clause ploy. Put up a big themed display and offer incentives for checking it out. Like you said its a win win situation for everyone.

    • I also think that the marketing director for the mall knows what they’re doing, in addition to PR people for the mall and for Wicked. Twelve Oaks Mall has done a really good job of keeping its stores full, whereas other malls in metro Detroit area have quite a few empty spaces. Twelve Oaks manages to get stores to fill those spaces pretty quickly.

      • I agree ! I go there sometimes and there’s always people in and out. Other malls could benefit from the Wicked campaign as well. Great Lakes Crossing is pretty close to my house and I remember they had a few gaps in shop spaces. I think they’ve filled them up by now but its clear they need some help getting shoppers.

  7. All original fans wont need this much info but going over and beyond has never hurt anyone, along with a great youtube video to give newer fans an idea, I think their marketing more towards the newer generation much like what rent did when they released their movie. It’s pretty cool, the marketing director definatly knows what their doing and it definatly shows, having any fan of musical have heard of this already and that’s just a testament of their work


  8. I also had no idea what Wicked was until I read this article. I don’t think it is that hard to differentiate between marketing, advertising and PR, but I agree that it is confusing at the beginning. I would like to think of a PR professional as a conductor; who directs the performance of the marketing and advertising departments. Marketing and advertising play the symphony and the PR department conduct the whole thing. The Wicked campaign is a good example of the relationship between all three, and a proof that although marketing and advertising are great performers, they still need the “maestro” (conductor) to direct the whole campaign.

  9. I definitely agree that the World of Wicked would not get the exposure they would need without the use of PR, advertising and marketing. I’ll have to admit that this was my first time hearing about the world of wicked and i must say they enhanced great tactics that would increase popularity in the musical. Everyone shops, Hello! So it was a brilliant idea to incorporate the musical in stores ..thats an example of great PR performance! Including the stores participation also helps because the employees can learn about it, and spread the word to their family, friends, spouses, etc. It’s all about word of mouth with just about anything now-a-days..Musicals are not my thing but if so, I’d totally buy it!
    -Martise W

  10. I love that stamp collection idea. It’s kind of like McDonalds Monopoly, except it sounds much more accessible. Definitely something I would do if I were in the area. Power to the PR team who thought it up and executed; hopefully the outcome will be as positive as it sounds to me.

    I do kind of wish this wasn’t isolated to just that one mall. It’s not even the closest one to Detroit! But I guess they must’ve done their research and assumed more theater-goers were around that area. Or something.


  11. Your acticle cleary helped us all define the fine line! The theme of the play went well with the season too. Which I think could help draw in audiences of all ages. Setting up and advertising in a mall is a very smart idea. There are hundreds of people walking around daily browsing and ready to to buy! Not to mention the contests, prizes always give people inncentive.
    -Rhonda Farah

  12. Katie,
    Great incorporation of marketing, advertising and public relations. I really love the tactic of getting businesses involved. While I was reading, I was trying to figure out how having the wicked deals would actually benefit the business itself. We know that Wicked would definitely profit but how would the store in the mall benefit? Could it be more business because of deals? Or the influx of theatre buffs like myself who would visit TCBY and enjoy their delicious frozen yogurt just because they have partnered with Wicked. Having displays does wonders for different vendors. In my short tenure at Sears working in the Electronics department, I found that the cameras that sold the most were the ones that had a special display board on the sales-floor. I’m sure Wicked’s tactics would prove effective. I mean Eastern Michigan University is planning an excursion to see it and it has been sold out since September. There you have it!


  13. Sometimes it’s difficult to seperate the three, but if you can incorporate all of them then you are definitely winning!


  14. I heard about Wicked back in high school because one of my best friends was obsessed with it. It’s a really cool story, and I’ve seen a lot of people wearing t-shirts and bracelets from the musical. I think they did a great job reaching a lot of different people from separate age groups, and using unique marketing to get the word out. Word of mouth wasn’t bad either, and these are based off of books! They took control of every possible aspect they could to get the world out. Wicked’s PR gets an A+ for sure.

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