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    Posted June 22, 2006

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Product Placement...Actors' Equity makes its Off-Broadway Debut!

Melanie Boland, Nick Cordileone, George Ashiotis, John Little, and Nicholas Viselli.

In a recent review of HAMLET, presented by Theatre by the Blind, The New York Times' theatre critic Anita Gates praised some of the "punchy, contemporary touches" in the production's design. Among these were the "gravediggers' Amstel beer, the gun that Laertes holds on the royal couple, and the Actors' Equity cards that dangle from the tote bags of the theater troupe."

In today's highly condensed cluster of advertising and promotional messages, advertisers are trying new ways to reach consumers and influence their decision. One of the most popular techniques is "product placement," the use of a particular product by actors in a media environment, e.g, in film, television and increasingly, the theatre. Equity's popular luggage tags (union-made!) are now in the mix.

HAMLET Assistant Stage Manager Eric Montesa came up with the idea during rehearsals: "One of the actors, Nick Cordileone, picked up my bag as a rehearsal prop, I thought it was funny because the Actors' Equity luggage tag was on my bag. I thought it would be a good "sight gag" if the cast had luggage tags, and it promotes Actors' Equity tours."

David Lotz, AEA's National Communications Director, created the luggage tags during the 2004 Production Contract negotiations. New luggage tags, imprinted with "Proud Equity Member," are now available for all current Equity tours. For further information, contact the Communications Department at 212.869.8530.

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