What do you sell?

The drama lesson offers the roles of a marketing creative team to the participants so that they can consider and discuss a moral dilemma. The question is what kind of compromises they should or shouldn’t make in order to get a great business which doesn’t really suit their principles.


Fanni Szemerédi has an MA in cultural management and an MA in teaching literature. She
has worked in several cultural programs and drama projects for youth in different theatres in Hungary. Since 2016 she works for a professional independent theatre in Budapest as a program coordinator and also contributes to the youth program of the theatre as a drama teacher working with both adults and teenagers.


Bringing up moral dilemmas in the topics of “selling a product” and “success”. Discussing
integrity vs. compromises. Good compromises and bad compromises. Discussing the idea of ‘success’.

Structure of the process:

Materials: drama papers (big paper sheets) – max 13, markers, pens, tables, chairs


Likert scale – whole class – 10 min

“Let’s play Likert scale live! Please stand in one line from 1 to 10 according to the measure of agreement to each statement said. One end of the scale is “strongly agree”, the other is “strongly disagree”. Between the two extremes there are 8 more options on the scale”.
There are three statements. After every statement the facilitator asks participants to stand on the scale. He / she asks questions from the participants: first the ones who stand at the two ends of the scale, the extremes. After that the ones in the middle or at any position. The facilitator asks participants about their opinion, asks them to explain why they stood where they stood, or if they can bring up any examples to support their
position. This is a warm up and topic-introduction game. The more reserved participants don’t need to be asked. The small group-games would suit them more, and later even the whole class improvisations. The more spreading, the more excitement on the Likert scale. The opposites stimulate discussions. The more simple, general and more controversial the statements are, the better.

1. You are voting with your wallet.

2. Choosing and buying products is a way to express your identity.

3. Marketing affects the behaviour and decisions of consumers.


Narration (facilitator) – 2 min

“Today we are going to examine what kind of decisions have to be made by the experts who influence our behaviour as consumers. I invite you for the role of the creative team in a PR- and marketing agency. Playing these roles doesn’t require any specific skills or knowledge from you now, only those we already own. Just be open and ready to play! I will also play a role at the agency. The agency is small and therefore the team sticks together. It’s a young agency, they have been working together for only four years,
and all the team members are under thirty. They are passionate about what they do. On the market they are thought of as a promising young team. Lots of small businesses and start ups would like to be a client of theirs. There have been a few smaller commissions from abroad as well. Success does not only mean financial success to them. One of the most important principles is that they are only interested in projects and commissions where they can communicate genuinely and authentically. Their top priorities are: environmental awareness, sustainability and social responsibility. They have just got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which can be life changing for the agency. But first let’s see who they are, how they work and what they usually do.
Let’s build this team up!”

a) Forming departments – 2 min

“Within the creative team there are 4 departments:

> graphic designer, visual creative team
> creative writing
> social media-team (fb, instagram, youtube,twitter,…)
> event management

Please choose one department you are interested in. It is good when all departments have roughly equal numbers of members.”

Wall of pride – 4 small groups – 2 min instructions + 5 min creating + 4 min sharing

“Every department should make up a project which has made them proud in the last 4 years. “Our best project” could be a project which was very hard work and we finally managed to get to something essential and found a good way to show it. It could be an award won by the team for a project. It could be a project which has gotten good feedback from other professionals or from customers. You could either create these projects or describe them. Tell us what was challenging about it, why it is special, unique or unconventional. Ask the question from yourself: what does ‘success’ mean to us?”

c) Social responsibility – 3 min instructions and forming new small groups + 5 min creating + 4 min sharing

“Please, leave your department for a while and form new small groups. Each small group should have at least one person from every department. Please, make sure that the new groups have roughly equal numbers of members.” (tip: if every department has a number from 1 to 4, we can ask the participants to form new small groups where there are members with every number from 1 to 4).

“The agency does one volunteer project every year. They support campaigns by NGOs, foundations, associations. They work for free. What have these projects been in the last 4 years? Every small group should present one of them.”

d) Another department: the management – whole group discussion – 5 min

Next to the creatives, there are other important departments at the agency as well, which are responsible for the finances, for building relationships with partners (procurers, investors and customers), for the business and for the processes of the projects.

Let’s talk about their points of view as well.  What are their basic rules and aims? Are there any principles in the way to achieve the goals? Let’s write them on big drama papers and hang them on the walls.

e) Motto / credo – 2 small groups – 5 min creating+ 4 min sharing

Let’s write down the top 10 rules and the motto of

1. the creatives (group 1)
2. the management and finances! (group 2)

When sharing, the 2 small groups can add more ideas to each other’s top 10s

f) Challenges, difficultes, problems – 2 small groups – 5 min discussion + 4 min sharing

What have the biggest professional or management challenges and difficulties been in the past two years?

Write down 3 issues in each small group – the issues can concern either the whole agency or any of the departments.

g) Remarkable moments – Freeze frames – 4 small groups – 2 min instructions, reforming former small groups + 4 min creating + 4 min sharing

“Go back to your department, please! Make one freeze frame in every department! It’s a picture, a snapshot. Let me give you the titles of the pictures:

1) deadline minus 1 day
2) we’ve finally made it! Project done!
3) shooting…
4) group discussion – that’s how it goes by us”

teacher in role + whole class improvisation, discussion – 8-10 min

Teacher = project manager (he/she coordinates processes, keeps contact between the departments and the partners):

“Hello! Thank you everyone for being here today. Today can be life-changing for us. We have received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which can define our future. Coca-Cola Hungary wants to work with us. This can be the first step of an international career. The project would last for two years and of course, it is financially favourable. I think it would need all our time and creative energy, so we won’t really have time for other projects. I’d like you to discuss this opportunity today. What you should know: it would be a new product that Coca-Cola would like to be tested in Central and Eastern Europe and then in the US, China and all over the world. This new product is Chilli Coke. Of course it’s top secret so please don’t tell anyone.
We have to give an answer in a week.”

The topic of the discussion is whether the agency should get this project or not. The teacher in role can help deepen the situation as the devil’s advocate which means if he/she sees that the discussion leads too soon to a very obvious result without everyone thinking through all the arguments, he/she can ask questions to bring new aspects to the discussion. That doesn’t mean that he/she pushes one possible decision. On the contrary. There is no right or wrong decision. Our aim is to thoroughly think about the question
coming up with pros and cons.

Tip: to have a bigger picture or to have more sophisticated and valid arguments.

1) the facilitator can prepare in advance and bring in a research about Coca-Cola’s CSR and inform the participants
2) as a part of the discussion participants themselves can do a quick research on their smartphones (if available) about Coca-Cola’s CSR and policies


Beginning to plan the project – 4 small groups – 1 min instructions + 5 min creating + 4 min sharing The departments shall start to plan the campaign, brainstorming, questions, suggestions…

Forum theatre + teacher in role – 6 min

Scene with the delegate of Coca-Cola Hungary (teacher in role): How to decline the offer? A volunteer participant is prepared by the others with arguments and expressions. He / she will be the spokesperson of the team. While watching the scene, the others can clap their hands at any moment and yell “stop” to stop the scene so that they have time to help the spokesperson with new arguments. Any of the spectators (spect-actors) can stop the scene not only to give new arguments but to replace the spokesperson and continue the scene. The spokesperson can also clap their hands and stop the scene to ask for
help from the others.

4 small groups – 6 min
“Make a snapshot, a photo about what happens at the agency one year later. How they feel, how the work environment is, what kind of project they are working on at the moment…”

Your Approach:

Important: there is no right or wrong answer. Our aim is always to examine a problem or dilemma from different perspectives, find arguments and deepen our understanding by trying different ways, looking at different consequences. The facilitator should not make a hint or any suggestion. He / she should always ask questions to help a situation or a problem evolve. Open questions help to deepen the understanding of certain problems or dilemmas. The facilitator might play the devil’s advocate by not letting the discussion
be too one-sided or obvious, he / she can reveal other / new aspects. It is important that he / she should not put pressure on the group or suggest any “good solution”.


Written by: Fanni Szemerédi, InSite Drama, Hungary