What do you do if you are an avant-garde, anti-capitalistic theatre and need to promote yourself to sell tickets? If your target group (and yourself) is generally suspicious of branding and advertising – an advanced, critical audience more in the habit of going to clubs and cinemas?
Germany’s leading avant-garde theatre, Die Volksbühne am Rosa Luxembourg Platz in Berlin, rejected a proposal by advertising agency Springer & Jacoby and decided to do things their own way. Over the past 15 years they have created an extremely successfull anti-design superbrand, by ignoring all existing standards of advertising. Not a single thought was waisted on strategy, target groups, user panels or trend scouts.
The plays are much praised, but they are only a part of the Volksbühne show. The Volksbühne posters are in it as well. So are the Volksbühne stickers mixing with the street art, the badly assempled, rough looking Volksbühne matchboxes, the Volksbühne building, the Volksbühne flags and banners, the grumpy Volksbühne woman in the ticket booth and the lack of a decent Volksbühne website. It is a complete world: clever, ironic, fun, self assured, rebellious and spot on.
The “Volksbühne style” makes most other theatres, look like brave choire boys (which they probably are in comparison). They rely heavily on good reviews and hope to catch our attention with a nice poster. No wonder we usually forget about them and head oft to the cinema…
The consumer of tomorrow may come a lot closer to the Volksbühne Audience of today: Suspiocious, critical, fed up and difficult to seduce. Future advertising and design agencies can look to Rosa Luxembourg Platz to see what charming, intelligent anti-design branding can lead to.