Back in 1996, Drew Hodges and the New York-based company he founded, SpotCo, were the brash upstarts in the insular world of Broadway marketing. Twenty years later, he has put together a book of SpotCo’s collected work, “On Broadway: From Rent to Revolution” (due in April from Rizzoli), looking back on a run that stretches from the opening of “Rent” to Broadway’s current ultrahot ticket, “Hamilton.”
If you asked me what the one skill I think a modern day Producer should have, it’s marketing . . . which is why this podcast is a crucial one for you to listen to. Listen to Drew talk about . .
Drew Hodges, founder of SpotCo, was a student at SVA, studied with Paula Scher, worked for her, and then started his agency that specializes in Broadway and theatrical advertising and design.
“It was chance, although working for Paula really set me up in ways I could not have foreseen,” he says. He worked for Scher and Terry Koppel for three years, plus but interned for them his senior year at SVA. “They were the only bosses I ever knew,” he recently told me while discussing his new book, On Broadway: From Rent to Revolution (Rizzoli). After three years, he started doing entertainment work, first as a solo freelancer and then founded Spot Design, which included Naomi Mizusaki of Supermarket, Rymn Massand, Kevin Brainard, Frank Harkins, Vinny Sainato and James Spindler. I love origin stories, so I asked Hodges to tell me the story of how SpotCo went from his kitchen table to a top entertainment agency.
Today on The Producer’s Perspective we’re introducing a brand new feature, which is a spin-off on my Advice From An Expert articles. In “10 Questions for a Broadway Pro,” I ask . . . yep . . . a Broadway Industry Professional 10 Questions!
Interview with Drew Hodges on his book ON BROADWAY: FROM RENT TO REVOLUTION, Broadway.com's pick for #1 book of 2016.
Who better than Drew to give you a little inside peak at how Broadway campaigns come together and how the landscape of entertainment marketing is changing? CTI’s Executive Director JED BERNSTEIN hit Mr. Hodges with a few questions about this vital component of the theater industry.
Drew Hodges is a designer, strategist and founder of New York’s SpotCo, a creative agency known for the iconic branding of Broadway shows Rent, Chicago, The Book of Mormon, Hamilton, and many more. In his new book, On Broadway, he revisits the breadth of SpotCo’s work and exposes the best and the worst of the creative process. Drew is a long time member of AIGA and past president of AIGA NY. We talked with him about his career, his book, and why he chose to make the move to Maine.
Drew Hodges is at a loss for words. Asked if he’s surprised at the life he’s leading — did he imagine he’d grow up to fly around the world orchestrating scenes with great actors and artists for his own wildly influential agency — he pauses three entire seconds. “I wish I had an answer for you,” he says. “It’s like, Come for the veal, stay for the floor show.”
SpotCo, the New York City ad agency, shook up the Broadway ad business a little more than a decade ago with contemporary, eye-catching campaigns for shows like Chicago and Rent.
His firm, SpotCo., designed most of the ads for “Rent” and became Broadway’s leading design firm over the next 20 years. SpotCo. created campaigns for “Chicago,” “Hamilton” and dozens more. Hodges, who sold the firm five years ago, lives in Portland and has written a coffee-table book, “On Broadway: From Rent to Revolution.” It’s a book about Broadway told from a design perspective by someone well-schooled in American culture.