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Read the Hamilton case study by Murray. In a well-written paper, address the following paper segments:Setting the Stage. In two concise paragraphs, describe the background to the case. What is happening here? What do the financials tell you? How did both Miranda and Hamilton use social media to drive success?Problem statement. From a consumer behavior perspective, elaborate on the problem that is presented by Miranda’s leaving the musical, his voice on social media, and the official posts by Hamilton. Be sure to consider the implications for localized promotion as the traveling show starts and financials. Ultimately, what is the problem that needs to be solved? (1-2 paragraphs)Analysis. In your analysis of this situation, consider the following:What specific social media tools did Hamilton and Miranda use? Given the target consumers, why did they use these?How important are people and personalities for social media effectiveness? Why?What financial influence—if any—did social media have on the show?Given the social media content, who are the consumers of this show? How might you describe their personality, lifestyle, values, income, gender, and so forth?Recommendations. Given your description of the setting, problem statements, and analysis, recommend how Hamilton should move forward vis-à-vis social media and its consumers for the future.Your paper should meet the following requirements:Be 4-5 pages in length.Be formatted according to CSU-Global Guide to Writing & APA (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..Include at least three outside sources, preferably peer-reviewed journal articles, in addition to the case study. The CSU-Global Library is a good place to find these sources.


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Jul. 27, 2016
Hamilton Won More than Twitter
Eminent Departure
On a Saturday afternoon in June 2016, writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda huddled in his dressing
room eating takeout sushi between the matinee and evening performances of Hamilton. The play had recently
won 11 Tony Awards, he had personally received a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and thanks to
the buzz about the musical, the U.S. Treasury had scrapped plans to eliminate the first treasury secretary,
Alexander Hamilton, from the U.S. $10 bill. Miranda was preparing to leave the cast the following month,
which would enable him to pursue other projects ranging from working as a composer for Disney’s musical
film Moana, to working on a movie adaptation of his previous Tony-winning musical, In the Heights, to
considering other endeavors such as starring in Mary Poppins alongside Emily Blunt. 1 His MacArthur
Fellowship awarded him $625,000 to pursue new projects, so after a year on Broadway he was ready to use it.
The show that retold the founding of America’s government using the sounds of hip-hop had grossed
almost $75 million, 2 but even more spectacular was the cultural influence of both Hamilton and Miranda.
Miranda had 578,000 Twitter followers,3 the play had created a buzz around its lottery for 21 $10 seats each
night, hundreds of celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Jennifer Lopez had not only attended but become
ambassadors for the musical, and the soundtrack was the first ever Broadway score to hit number one on
Billboard’s rap ranking.4
Perhaps most impactful were the #Ham4Ham impromptu performances outside Broadway’s Richard
Rodgers Theatre each Wednesday and Saturday about two hours before showtime. What was designed to be
the name-out-of-a-hat lottery for the affordable seats became a live performance for any spectator on the
street and treasure for social media.
But a month prior to departing his show, Miranda’s greatest concern was maintaining the social media
buzz. Hamilton’s online presence was incredible, though Miranda had primarily driven it himself. He was a
force—creative, quick-witted, and constantly present—that the fans loved. He wondered how Hamilton
should manage social media to keep the fans engaged and the show sold out. And he was unsure if
#Ham4Ham should be retooled to stay fresh.
1 Tom
Teodorczuk, “Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Leaving the Blockbuster ‘Hamilton’ in July,” Heatstreet, April 18, (accessed July 6, 2016).
2 Sarah
Whitten, “‘Hamilton’ Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Reportedly Departing Show in July,” CNBC, June 2, (accessed July 6, 2016).
3 Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter page,
4 Robert
Viagas, “Hamilton Broadway Cast Album to Hit #1 on Billboard Rap Chart,” Playbill, November 16, (accessed July 6, 2016).
This public-sourced case was prepared by Meghan Murray, Adjunct Lecturer. Copyright © 2016 by the University of Virginia Darden School
Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. All rights reserved. To order copies, send an e-mail to [email protected]. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without
the permission of the Darden School Foundation.
This document is authorized for use only in admin’s MKG330 – W18A at Colorado State University – Global Campus from Oct 2018 to Apr 2019.
Page 2
The Stars
The personalities that orbited Hamilton were part of what made it special. The cast was packed with stars,
and the show had a celebrity following from the beginning.
Before the musical’s opening night, the theater world was already enthusiastic about Jonathan Groff, who
had previously been nominated for a best actor Tony and had starred in box office hits such as Disney’s
musical movie Frozen.5 Groff was subsequently nominated for a Tony for his performance as King George III
in Hamilton.6 When he departed the show in April 2016 to film the lead role in a Netflix series, Rory O’Malley,
who had been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in The Book of Mormon, stepped into the King George
III spot.7 Several other original actors planned to leave the show as well, drawn away by other opportunities
thanks to their successful reputations and excellent work on Hamilton. In most cases, the understudies who
started opening night at the Richard Rodgers Theatre took over.
Phillipa Soo, who played Eliza Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, earned a Tony Award nomination
for best actress in a musical and left Hamilton to take a title role in an adaptation of the French movie Amélie.
Christopher Jackson, who played George Washington, left for a CBS TV series entitled Bull. Leslie Odom Jr.,
who snatched the best lead actor Tony from Miranda for his role as Aaron Burr, the narrator of Hamilton and
man best known for killing his nemesis in a duel, also planned to depart in July 2016 with Miranda to pursue
projects like promoting his solo album.8
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were fans of the musical before it was even
created. On a lark, Miranda took advantage of a visit to the White House to preview a song improbably
marrying Alexander Hamilton to a modern communication vehicle. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s 800-page
biography of the Founding Father,9 Miranda recounted, “I knew that the only way to tell his story was in the
language of hip-hop.” Not only were the Obamas sold on the idea, but the video of his performance went
viral and Miranda was advanced $175,000 to create a show for The Public Theater, where his play ran for a
year before moving to Broadway.10
Stars from Samuel L. Jackson to Paul McCartney flocked to the show. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker
posted an Instagram image of the theater on opening night, actress Jennifer Lopez tweeted an “after-show
shenanigans” selfie with cast members, and musician Common simply tweeted, “I had to see it again.”11 Some
posts were straightforward, such as actor Steve Martin’s tweet, “Flawless cast and impeccable writing make
Hamilton soar,” and comedian Jimmy Fallon’s “HAMILTON is a game changer.” Musician Alicia Keys
flamboyantly used emojis and hashtags, “#wearelimitless!! #unboxable #canyoutelli’mintoit?” 12 Former
Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and U.S. Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner were also fans. As a result, Miranda himself became a person other famous people wanted
Jonathan Groff’s IMDb biography, (accessed July 7, 2016).
For the full list of 2016 nominees, see
7 Adam Hetrick, “Jonathan Groff, King of Hamilton, Takes Final Bow,” Playbill, April 9, 2016, (accessed July 7, 2016).
Elisabeth Vincentelli, “The Departing ‘Hamilton’ Actors Are Making Big Plans,” New York Post, June 20, 2016, (accessed July 7, 2016).
9 Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, (New York: Penguin Books, 2004).
10 Rachel Syme, “How “Hamilton” Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Building a Brand for the Ages,” Fast Company, May 16, 2016, (accessed
July 7, 2016).
11 Samantha
Simon, “What the Stars Are Saying about Broadway’s Hottest Play, Hamilton,” In Style, August 7, 2015, (accessed July 7, 2016).
12 Billy Lorusso, “43
Celebrities Who Are GUSHING over “Hamilton” on Social Media,” Buzzfeed, November 5, 2015, (accessed July
7, 2016).
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Page 3
to meet. He stated, “I could go to an invited thing every night and become this crazy celebrity person if I
wanted to.” But, “I can’t, because I still have a show to do.”13
The Personality
Hamilton was a mix of modernity and history, gaining acclaim for featuring a cast that represented the
racial diversity of 2016 America. The only Caucasian primary character was King George III; all others were
people whose races and ethnicities reflected the melting pot of the United States. The characters pushed
boundaries in retelling history. Lyrics ranged from Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton’s sister-in-law, rebutting
Thomas Jefferson’s assertion in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal with, “I’m ‘a
compel him to include women in the sequel!” to Alexander Hamilton and Marquis de Lafayette chanting
“Immigrants! We get the job done.”14
Miranda created platforms not only to promote the play but also to provide a taste of the play that was
inaccessible to so many. When tickets became scarce and expensive, the musical’s soundtrack was the easiest
way for everyone to enjoy Hamilton. Director Thomas Kail stated simply, “With the album, for $20, you have
the whole show. You can get it on your phone. I know how much money Star Wars made, so I know
everybody has $20.”15 The cast soundtrack to Hamilton was also available for free on YouTube through its
distributor, Warner Music Group.16 A coffee-table book about the making of the musical was one more way
the play was made accessible to fans.
A Unique Voice
Twitter was the most widely available way for followers to touch Hamilton’s secret world and feel
included. Miranda used Twitter to connect with people who loved rap, history, and theater by soliciting fan
art and poetry. He responded to questions one on one and treated his followers like pals.17 He created a
special digital club as a way to keep fans engaged.
Twitter data confirmed that about 65% of Miranda’s tweets included a fan response or some fan
engagement (e.g., a RT (re-tweet), a reply, or an RT-with-comment.). Between January 2015 and June 2016,
there were 2.3 million mentions of “@Lin_Manuel” or “Lin-Manuel Miranda.”18 He shared himself, not just
his performances, with fans. But he also used others’ celebrity to his advantage. In his own tweets, he shared
photos of big names who visited him backstage and tagged those people, many of whom had huge fan bases
of their own.19 He also used social media to compliment fellow performers and create mash-ups of other
popular Broadway shows, each time tagging the recipient of his praise. In doing this, he increased his follower
count and engagement organically.
Group, (accessed July 7, 2016).
16 Mike Georgiou, “How Hamilton Creator Lin Manuel Miranda Harnessed the Power of Social Media,” Imagine, June 20, 2016, (accessed July 7, 2016).
18 Michael
Dale, “HAMILTON’s Lin-Manuel Miranda is Broadway’s Twitter Genius,” Broadway World, June 14, 2016, (accessed July 7, 2016).
19 Francesca Toscano, “‘He’s Just Non-Stop’: What Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda Can Teach Us about Social Media,” Qnary, March 14, 2016 (accessed July 7, 2016).
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Page 4
Miranda and his co-star Jonathan Groff were teased on social media about their “bromance” close
relationship with each other. Miranda capitalized on this by creating social media content about their
infatuation for one another, including a passionate kiss.20
Miranda also took advantage of opportunities that were not traditional interviews, but rather created
memorable improvisational experiences that replayed well online. These ranged from “Carpool Karaoke”
with James Corden to a sing-along with Jimmy Fallon.
The show also managed a YouTube channel of viral videos and posted photos on Instagram, earning
Hamilton more followers than any previous Broadway show.21 This made the Hamilton brand more accessible.
See Exhibit 1 for a social media snapshot of the Hamilton properties and other popular personas. Candid
photos dominated the show’s Twitter handle, @hamiltonmusical. There, followers could find Miranda with
#Ham4Ham guest stars and show attendees, snapshots of news articles published about the play, and artwork
depicting components of the show.
This digital success was not luck. Stacey Mindich, the producer, organized an “Influencer Night” during
the show’s preview performances. She invited executives from Silicon Valley and digital media experts to the
show and asked them for feedback and online strategy tips. This interactive media board of advisers ranged
from Mashable COO Mike Kriak to Amazon’s head of online advertising Jason Nickel.22 Because Broadway’s
40 theaters provided inherently physical experiences, part of their appeal was that the experience could not be
replicated online. Historically the productions have relied on critical acclaim to attract New York visitors to
attend the shows. Hamilton broke that cycle by creating an atmosphere in which fans became ambassadors for
the show, posting photos, videos, and comments to generate interest among those not tapped into Broadway
With the help of the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and the Rockefeller Foundation, the
Hamilton Education Program created the opportunity for 20,000 11th graders in New York City public
schools to enhance their knowledge of American history via videos and study guides that Miranda helped
develop. The students had the opportunity to write and perform their own historically based musical projects
and then see Hamilton in the theater.23
Miranda used the popularity of the show to help causes important to him. He raised money for Graham
Windham, the orphanage that Eliza, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, had started. He lobbied the U.S. Congress to
help Puerto Rico with its debt crisis.24 He used the ubiquitous adoption of social media to raise funds and
awareness for causes important to him.
At The Public Theater the show started holding a public lottery outside of the box office to provide 21
seats at $10 each (“a Hamilton”), which it called the #Ham4Ham Lottery. It continued the tradition at the
Richard Rodgers Theatre when the show moved to Broadway. On opening night, August 7, 2015, Miranda,
overwhelmed by the size of the crowd that had gathered, stepped outside to thank them for supporting the
Issie Lapowsky, “Hamilton’s Savvy Plan to Keep Fans Stoked Even if They Never Get Tickets,” Wired, May 10, 2016, (accessed July 7, 2016).
22 Lee Seymour, “As ‘Hamilton’ Rules Broadway’s Social Media, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Digs Deeper,” Forbes, May 17, 2016,
(accessed July 7, 2016).
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Page 5
play and read several paragraphs from Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. He said to the crowd,
“Thank you all! I love you. You won’t all win, but come back!…We will be here if you keep showing up.”
The act was effective, gaining traction on social media. His appearances were not only crowd pleasers but also
a launchpad for creativity and abject fandom, quickly dubbed #Ham4Ham. By the winter holidays, more than
1,000 people were waiting outside to get a glimpse of the cast, view the impromptu performance, and take a
shot at winning a discounted seat.25 As a result, the lottery moved online, but the public pre-shows continued.
Mike Karns managed Hamilton’s digital footprint, videotaping the #Ham4Ham delights and taking
responsibility for disseminating them via YouTube, Instagram, and the show’s Twitter handle, amassing
hundreds of thousands of views. Variety was one hallmark of the performances. In one, composer Alan
Menken and Miranda sang songs from The Little Mermaid, a favorite movie of Miranda’s. Star Wars director J.J.
Abrams appeared on May 4, 2016 (“May the fourth be with you”), to perform the song he and Miranda had
recorded together for the most recent Star Wars film.26 In another, Miranda addressed the crowd to say that a
Twitter follower had asked why there was no ballet in the show. His response: several members of the New
York City Ballet performed as the #Ham4Ham on October 17, 2015.
#Ham4Ham also existed as recorded snippets. In one, Hamilton star Jonathan Groff and his friend,
actress Lea Michelle of Glee sat in bed one morning chatting over coffee, dishing about scenes in the show.27
In another digital #Ham4Ham, Miranda positioned himself backstage at the world-famous musical Les
Misérables, earphones tapped into the official live performance in action, provided commentary directly to the
camera, and sang along with the actors onstage.28 Many of these minishows earned more than 300,000 views
total, and most #Ham4Ham posts were viewed online over 50,000 times before the next one posted. The
YouTube channel hosted over 100,000 subscribers and over 8.4 million views between May 2015 and June
2016. 29
Tickets were so difficult to secure that the Hamilton cast embraced #Ham4Ham as a way to allow fans
from all over the world to participate in Hamilton without having to travel to New York.30 It also gave them
one more way to control the brand. By issuing an affordable official cast album a month after the Broadway
run began, piracy was less appealing. Theatergoers were not allowed to use cell phones to take photos or
videos inside the theater. Miranda was known to stare down members of the first few rows who tried to
record pieces of the show and tweet about them by describing their appearance and the seats they were in.31
The Enterprise
When the soundtrack dropped, including contributions by Roots bandleaders Questlove and Black
Thought, it ranked number nine on the Billboard digital album chart and number twelve overall on the
Billboard 200 for October 17, 2015 It was the highest debut for a cast recording sin …
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