The salaciously titled Stephen Adly Guirgis play, The Motherfucker With the Hat begins previews in March and certainly presented a marketing challenge. The play centers on a newly sober man and his girlfriend , a continual addict. Suffice it to say, such a dark-themed play isn’t looking to appeal to Wicked or Mary Poppins fans but all marketing materials need to be censored. Its Twitter and Facebook pages utilize the user names TheMFWithTheHat. The main promotional artwork featured on its webpage and on the Schoenfeld Theatre marquee substitutes asterisks for the letters U and C (Motherf**ker).
The above image, a New York Times banner ad, completely eliminates the expletive Motherfucker but includes a line instructing viewers to click for the full title. Given my interest in product displacement and unbranding, I find the act of hiding a significant portion of a play’s title in an ad absolutely fascinating.
On another note, I was invited to attend a preview performance of the show. =)