TBWA\Chiat\Day leverages Hamilton's night at the Tony Awards for BNY Mellon

Twitter campaign gives modern persona to bank founder Alexander Hamilton

Among the many fans applauding the musical "Hamilton" and its 11 Tony Award wins on Sunday night was the show’s eponymous subject, Alexander Hamilton. Well, sort of.

The founding father provided running commentary of the awards show in tweets by BNY Mellon, a financial institution created by Hamilton in 1784 as the Bank of New York.

"I think if Hamilton were alive today, he’d be an inveterate tweeter," said Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, the agency behind the social media messages. In crafting them, the creative and planning teams at TBWA tried to capture Hamilton’s personality as it might be expressed in the modern era. "He was pretty snarky," Schwartz said. "Hamilton used the pen — he also used the gun — but he used the pen as a weapon throughout his career, and we were just inspired by that."

Hamilton was a proud and bombastic man, so while the Hamilton character lauds the accomplishments of the musical, he doesn’t fawn, and he always brings the spotlight back to himself.

The character first appeared on BNY Mellon’s Twitter account last week, for the 232nd anniversary of the founding of the Bank of New York. TBWA had been working on the concept for several weeks prior to that.

There was no way to know exactly which awards "Hamilton" would win, so TBWA crafted between 10 and 15 tweets altogether, knowing that only a handful would be used. Some were merely contingencies, in case of an upset. "Graphically, we definitely had the applause, and we had the bow because we knew that with 16 nominations, we’d win at least one," Schwartz said. If the night went poorly for the production, "Hamilton himself could just cheer on the theatre community."

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