The producers of the hit musical Rent appear to have found more than audiences during a run in Boston last fall.

Looking for a way to jump-start sponsorship sales after a rocky opening in Boston, the touring company entertained a pitch from Woolf Associates. The sports and entertainment representation company, founded by the late Bob Woolf and bought a year ago by Arnold Communications in Boston, sold the national touring company on the idea of looking at the rock musical as a brand.

Woolf collaborated with researchers and creative staff at Arnold to create a ‘brand essence’ video, a compilation of interviews with fans, cast members and theatergoers that helped define a strategic positioning for the musical. Rent is about a group of lower Manhattanites learning to cope with issues related to AIDS, drug abuse and gender.

The video focuses on the show’s themes instead of plot or characters. ‘If you just told someone the story of Rent, they might not relate to the people or the situations. But when you expose them to the ideas and emotions, they come to see Rent as the phenomenon it is,’ said client representative Laura Matalon.

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