A Christmas Carol

Agency Network: 
August 2009
Denver Center Theater:  A Christmas Carol


A breaking series of posters for the Denver Center Theater Company’s 10-play 2009/10 drama series aims to reach a younger strata of new play-goers with a campaign intended as both modern and thought-provoking.

Each of the ten posters is two-sided. The front is all words, its main element a question, meant to tease the viewer into imagining the plot’s essence—even before he learns the play’s name. On the posters’ backs, the title and a symbolic visual distillation are prominent. For “Othello,” we see an eye and a drop of blood. For “A Christmas Carol”: three tree ornament/watchfaces, with hands turning backwards to the past, forward to the future, and stopped at the present. For the series’ only musical, “Mama Hated Diesels”: the cab of a semi truck, eighth notes for exhaust pipes.

The posters’ two-sided format gives them a temporal dimension unusual for print. They will appear in theater, restaurant, café, and storefront windows, with the word/question side facing out and the picture/title side facing in. The effect is that it could be many minutes between when a viewer, say, entering a restaurant, first sees a verbal question about the play and when later, sitting, having ordered his food, he finally connects with the play’s title.

Unlike in past years, when each play in the series received its own, one-off design treatment, all posters in the new campaign adhere to an overall identifying format, one featuring a spare palette of flat, solid colors, stark, symbolic illustration, all-caps, sans serif typography, and mixed horizontal and vertical baselines. It is a format that presents even Shakespeare’s “Othello” and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as contemporary.

Two-sided poster.

Print advertisement created by Cactus, United States for Denver Center Theater, within the category: Recreation, Leisure.

Advertising Agency: Cactus, Denver, USA
Creative Director: Norm Shearer
Associate Creative Director / Copywriter: Brian Watson
Art Director / Illustrator: Jorge Lamora
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Highest Rated

Guest's picture

Brian awesome copy pal! At last a decent poster with great copy.

Guest's picture

What is the need for making it two-sided??

Grace Bastien's picture

I agree. When out with friends, having a coffee or whatever... I'm not getting up to see what is on the other side of a poster.

However I do like the copy.

Grace Bastien
rolling.stone's picture

Nice Copy. Hats off to copy.

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~ Quite obviously, I have gathered no moss ! ~

Guest's picture

Brian awesome copy pal! At last a decent poster with great copy.

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