Posts Tagged ‘Live Entertainment’

4 PLACES FOR EVENT IDEAS

March 8, 2012

Have you ever seen the movie The Player (great film)?  Tim Robbins plays a movie exec (Griffin Mill) that accidentally kills a struggling screen writer he believes is sending him harassing postcards. 

In a creative meeting, Larry Levy, a competitor of Robbins’ character at the studio played by Peter Gallagher suggests that movies can “write themselves” and ideas can come from anywhere…even newspaper headlines.  Gallagher’s character then asks those sitting around a conference table to start reading headlines from the day’s paper aloud, giving movie premises for each (e.g. Bonnie & Clyde meets Driving Miss Daisy…).  Of course it isn’t as easy as Larry Levy would suggest, and in the end, the studio ends-up paying the $1 million a script Levy said wasn’t neededed…even as a bribe to keep the person who actually did write the post cards from talking (his script was based on Robbins’ character killing the struggling screen writer). Live entertainment and events are different.  You can harvest concepts from what’s right in front of you.  Here are four places to start.

TV – For years, television has brought their act on the road.  Recently we have seen tours from American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance (who should also do a dance camp for fans), and Glee.  Culinary stars Guy Fieri, Anthony Bourdain, and Paula Deen (to name a few) have created real businesses through their live performances. There are even popular attractions in Vegas like the CSI Experience and Price Is Right where guests become part of the shows. And there are still an infinite number of ideas out there.  Just take the shows with the word “War (s)” in them for instance. 

How about Neighborhood Cupcake Wars or Storage Wars Showdown?  You could have a Whale Wars educational tour presented by Greenpeace.  AND if someone doesn’t produce a Project Runway tour for the fashion industry, I’m going to (in fact email me @ jim@liveworksevents.com). 

FILM Spider-Man, Shrek and several of Disney’s movies are on Broadway.  Batman will be coming to an arena near you.  Feld Entertainment has been entertaining girls and their moms for decades with Disney On Ice.  Music peeps (Gregg Perloff and Spencer Churchill) produced Star Wars: In Concert.  So what’s your idea? Maybe Stunts and Gadgets of 007, orCREATURES OF HORROR (highlighting the best movie monsters)?

MAGAZINES/PRINTRolling Stone has had their name attached to college tours for years.  American Express Publishing (Food & Wine Magazine) owns upscale culinary events like the Aspen Food & Wine Classic.  Fortune and Forbes have put their name behind many financial conferences and gatherings (e.g. Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit is in its 14th year).  A story in March 5th’s Advertising Age titled “Events businesses are paying off for publishers” shows the profits publishers are making from their Live Entertainment extensions (included Fortune, Time, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, O Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Vice Media).  Shoot I’ve even developed the Jeep World Outside Festival with Outside Magazine that played 23-cities in 5-weeks. 

Let’s come up with ideas for publications…Men’s Health’s Adventure Days (could promote with Living Social, etc), Vogue Presents “What To Wear”, Cosmopolitan’s Secrets To Relationships, or People Magazines’ Celebrity Photo Gallery.

BRANDSNike does their Run Hit Wonder. Vans own a large piece of the Warped TourHeineken has sponsored many music festivals including their own. Almost every automobile manufacturer has “ride-n-drive” events.  This is Branded Live Entertainment at its best. 

Sears’ Craftsman Tools should start the Ultimate Handyman Show (like a home show hosted by their stars Ty Pennington and Bob Vila)… or based on their rank as the number one seller of exercise equipment, perhaps partner with NBC’s The Biggest Loser for a health expo?  Brands should also go outside their box.  For instance Coke has always put their brand behind sporting events.  Why not Coca-Cola’s Sports Fantasy Camps?

Please share your ideas.  There are plenty of places to mine from.

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STEVE JOBS BOOK

November 6, 2011

The Steve Jobs book is having a big effect on my thinking lately.  There’s a quote from Jobs about halfway through that hits like a sledgehammer.  “In the end, you just don’t want someone else to control a big part of user experience.”  In Live Entertainment, that’s all we do…with a few exceptions.

The talent/artist/act/athlete/producer/director has their vision and from there, the watering down begins.  Costs play the biggest role in diluting the message.  The show needs a place to play (w/ venue ops people, box office, security, ticket takers, ushers, parking attendants, customer service, etc, all between the show and guest) , marketing, ticketing, production and design, crew, etc, which can all have negative impacts…yet can be cost prohibitive to carry.  Cirque du Soleil has their touring shows in tents and the others, installs/sit-downs (Vegas, NY, LA, etc) where they can transform and control the environment.

Disney is similar in wanting control of the experience.  With Broadway, the theme parks, cruise ships, adventures and vacations, guests are coddled from the first interaction. The exception would be Feld Entertainment’s Disney On Ice which is a license that has been in place for decades. 

So what do we do?  It needs to start with a hybrid model.  Let’s use Feld as an example. 

Tickets are sold, mostly through Ticketmaster rather than Disney or Feld’s own ticketing.  This is necessitated by the multiple venues the show plays under contract (although Feld does have their own promoter agreements with TM).  The same with ticket takers, security, ushers, box office, etc.  Yet Feld does promote the shows internally (w/ help from venue marketing), caries production, crew, performers…and their own merch and concession operations and sales people (to the dismay of venues around the world).

Take a look at your upcoming projects and find every touch point with guests that you can take control of.  Apple, along with Disney and Cirque believe in the end-to-end user experience.  You should too. 

Aspen Update – The 16th Annual Aspen Live Conference is filling up like it hasn’t in years.  At this point, The St. Regis, Aspen is completely sold-out.  There are still Grand Deluxe rooms available at the Limelight Hotel.  Please go to http://www.aspenlive.com and register today.

THE WEEKEND ROUNDUP

October 18, 2011

Beginning next Monday, the LiveWorks Newsletter will start posting a weekly “Weekend Roundup”.  The idea is to promote your events (successes and lessons learned), on-sales, marketing tools, production tips, best practices, what’s trending, and any other news we can gather from Thursday through Sunday. 

Please send anything worth sharing to jim@liveworksevents.com.  We currently have over 1300 Live and Branded Live Entertainment subscribers (w/even more who read online) that you can reach…with more each week. 

ASPEN HOTEL DEADLINE

There are currently only 5-rooms left in our block at the St. Regis for December’s Aspen Live Conference http://www.aspenlive.com.  Although we’ve been told we can add more rooms to our block, the hotel can only guarantee our conference rates through November 7th.  There are also 14-rooms still available in our block at the Limelight.  Should you need a room, please click on the link above for registration and room reservation information.

Don’t forget to email your news!

Jim

GOLDSTAR

October 15, 2011

Another marketing tool you used to sell live entertainment in  many U.S. markets to help is Goldstar Events http://www.goldstar.com (full disclosure, they have been a LiveWorks client for the past 6-months http://liveworksevents.com).  Actually it was Nederlander‘s Jamie Loeb that introduced many of us to the service… although I started out from the consumer side.

We had just moved to LA and were looking for things to do with our girls.  My cousin Annie suggested becoming Goldstar members since their site contained family friendly events in the area. We did.

Jump 4-years to last December.  Jamie recommended a few of Goldstar’s management team (CEO, Jim McCarthy and VP, Wendi Lebow) participate in the Aspen Live Conference http://www.aspenlive.com.  Once we saw their grassroots growth and marketing strategy (no advertising to hurt primary ticket sales), sales numbers…and most importantly, what they can mean to your bottom line (the service only takes 2% of sale for credit card transactions with zero risk… and the rest goes to the show) we were sold.  You will be too.

Goldstar has created a calculator for you to use to gauge impact.  It’s a mock-settlement from the Nokia Theatre in LA.  Although the scaling may be a little off (I haven’t settled an event @ the venue yet), all the numbers can be changed to fit your show.  Please send me an email for a copy and I’ll forward the Excel doc. 

Goldstar has been investing in our business for over 9-years now…growing market-by-market.  There are other “daily deal” type businesses (Goldstar is actually a marketplace rather than deal site) you can lump them in with, yet Goldstar sells only live entertainment to an audience looking for things to do.  In fact, 86% of Goldstar members search a city and date rather than a specific event or venue…thus creating event discovery versus cannibalizing your primary market. 

Music has been slow in embracing Goldstar due to discounting.  When many see the success other live entertainment has had with the service (Sports, Theatre, Family, even Cinema) they usually point out that there are multiple performances, games, etc, where a concert is just that one night.  If we were selling-out every show, they would have a point.  Unfortunately we don’t and if your event isn’t projected to go clean, you should be doing something to get you there. 

We are all looking out for the long term health of our business (or at least many are).  If you are going to what you call your “loyal customers” with a “special offer” to help boost ticket sales, you are doing just the opposite.  This is your primary market…your Alpha Consumer.  You are just training them to wait for a deal. 

To open new sales channels, we need to look at how other businesses market and sell their products.  Automobile manufacturers for example have regular scheduled sales events that consumers can count on…but also use other discounting methods (like auto sales websites) to drive leads and sales. 

 There is a reason many of us have gravitated to Goldstar.  Please take a look at what you are missing.

Jim

BURGER KING ADS

April 21, 2010

It is hard to write if you have nothing to say.  That’s why it has been so long since the last LiveWorks Newsletter. 

Today I was again reminded of creative and memorable advertising that we could easily create in Live and Branded Live Entertainment but somehow seem to always fall short.  Well if imitation really is the greatest form of flattery, why not just steal others ideas?

“It’s not that original but it’s super affordable…” is the line at the end of the new Burger King TV commercial for its sausage breakfast sandwich that’s a dead ringer for McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin.  In fact, the ad shows Bk’s character, “The King” breaking into McDonald’s headquarters and stealing the secret recipe for the mega-brand’s Sausage McMuffin with Egg.  Funny, smart, daring.

Will these spots end up selling more breakfast sandwiches for Burger King?  I’m betting yes.  Why, because the marketing message is extremely clear and simple.  We have exactly what they have, for less.  Most fast food consumers are also aware that Burger King’s are usually not as busy as McDonald’s restaurants so if the drive-thru looks crowded @ Mickie D’s, you just go down a few restaurants on fast food row to BK and try their new sausage sandwich. 

Now cut to one of our spots.  Are we selling American Express, the acts new record, Coors Light, one of three pre-sales, or tickets to the show?  Hopefully, none of the above.  If you aren’t creating an experience for your consumers, you will continue to get beat by companies out entertaining the entertainment business.  My friend Mike from Yes Dear Entertainment sent me an article stating that Apple is thinking about entering the ticketing business.  Hopefully they will create an iPod type device or some kind of tech gadget that holds paperless tickets, photos you can take and email to your friends of you at the show and other entertainment apps…just to continue to show us how to do our jobs and improve the guest experience. 

Just look at products like Flip Video.  This is the future and we are somehow missing it.  There are young people ready to change our business and we aren’t embracing them.   Entrepreneurs like Alex White from Next Big SoundBrent Smith from WME was talking with me about him today…about what his company is compiling and how that data is a gold mine for predicting future consumer spending, etc.  Plug in!

I’m more hopeful than ever that we can make a difference.  Of course it starts with a product…but for our shows out this spring and summer, let’s makes sure we spread the right message.  It is about the experience our guests will have if they come to our shows!  It isn’t the new single no one has heard, the sponsor no one cares about, or the promoter of the show… how long you’ve been in business, or anything else.  What’s the show, and how is your guest going to have a great time.  That’s your message!  Go spread the word!

Look forward to hearing from all of you as usual!  It is great to see our subscription list grow so much even when I’m not writing.

Thank you for reading and writing back!

Jim

SUCCESS TIPS FROM ASPEN

February 24, 2010

This past December, leaders from Live Entertainment ascended on Aspen, CO for the 15th Annual Aspen Live Conference.   Since many of you weren’t able to attend (our capacity is 200 each year), here are some key points I took away from this year’s event that you can put into practice today to help grow your business.

PRIME THE PUMP – Let’s give guests real incentives for purchasing tickets early versus waiting to see if there will be a fire sale.  What if after your tickets went on-sale, they went up by a dollar each day?  That might be the extreme but certainly worth a try.

USE DATA LIKE AMAZON – If you are like me, you purchase books on Amazon.com.  One of the great features of this site is each time you visit; they have recommendations just for you based on previous purchases.  This isn’t the same as spamming someone about one show because they bought tickets to another. 

FILM TRAILERS – The reason so many of us like film trailers are that they give us a good sense of what we are in for if we go see that movie.  Let’s do the same with our shows.  Bill Young Productions cut a Bon Jovi tour spot that is where we should be heading.  http://www.concerts.com/tour/files/Bon_Jovi_Tour_SP48707.mov

LOYALTY PROGRAMS – We need to be thinking differently here…maybe like the airlines.  Guests accrue benefits that they don’t pay for based on the number of shows they see…tickets they turn your friends on to, etc.  If you don’t keep-up, you lose your points.  Kick-ass and you may never have to pay for a show again. 

CULTURAL ANALYTICS – If you haven’t been introduced to Next Big Sound and Alex White, you should.  Essentially they have more data on the music business than you could dream of.  They follow the 6-major social networks…and well, see for yourself http://www.nextbigsound.com/

MORE POWER TO FANS – We must make it easier to go from “I’m interested” to “I’m buying”.  That’s where new companies like Iggli come in.  http://www.iggli.com/home.iggli.  Another company that everyone in Live should know. 

NEW REVENUE MODELS – This can get very complicated as it relates to paying talent, etc…but what if we charged by the car…or the count-up idea above where tickets cost a dollar more each day…or guests get bigger discounts the more tickets they purchase…you get the idea. 

We have a chance to really innovate in 2010…take chances.  You could start with some of the ideas above.

Thanks for reading and all the emails and feedback.  Please keep them coming!

Jim

SEARCH SUCCESS IN TV ADS

February 23, 2010

One ad worth talking about from the 2010 Super Bowl (yes, very late to the party but there’s a point) is Google’s.  The spot is simple, moving, and incredibly creative.  And yet, this ad is probably something the live event industry can afford to produce.  It is after all just a computer screen shot with music (very important…builds through the spot) and a few voiceovers!

Click on the following link…watch and listen.  It is really, really good…and in comparison, the Live Entertainment and Branded Live Entertainment businesses actually have real person-to-person interactions at our events!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnsSUqgkDwU&feature=pyv&ad=3910813733&kw=google%20tv%20ad

It is always easier to stay with the status quo.  Most feel they won’t lose their jobs saying no, but they certainly could saying yes.  But innovation only comes with experimentationtrial and errorrisk taking.  Just do your own comparison between the Google ad and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqKcK2MMr2s.  I’m not saying the Ringling ad doesn’t do its job, I’m sure it does.  I am saying we might be seen and heard through the clutter by thinking differently…say like Google.

Let’s try harder… like Avis

Jim