Posts Tagged ‘Tickets’

LIVE’S LESSONS FROM RETAIL

April 18, 2009

Albertsons’ grocery stores have been running ads for their new 4:15 Dinner Plans (Dinner for 4 for under $15 dollars).  http://tinyurl.com/d49u9c  This is a great program!  It’s easy for consumers to understand; and on a busy schedule, a great way to help shoppers make purchase decisions not only on where to shop, but what to shop for.  Couldn’t we do the same thing in Live Entertainment?

Six Flags amusement parks are trying with “buy one day’s admission and get the entire year for free.”  Although the right thought (Disney and Universal Parks do the same) Six Flags is closing-in on Chapter 11.  What are they doing wrong???  It must be customer experience!

Go to a Six Flags park and you will understand their problems immediately….as soon as you get to the front gates.  Why are there lines to take people’s money?  Those that should be the most well trained…the staff that first makes contact with guests, are holding everything up by not knowing how to work the equipment properly or understanding what consumer’s options are… and don’t care how long you have been waiting.  From there you can go to food selection and price, chewing gum stuck everywhere on every ride, and employees that either didn’t want to be there or were more interested in picking up the opposite sex than doing their jobs. 

I do believe Live Nation has a program where music fans get  tickets, hot dogs, and drinks for one price…but don’t believe they run those promotions until a show is in trouble (I could be wrong).  We all have some homework to do.  There is no reason the Live business should be out promoted by grocery store chains.  Let’s hear some of your ideas.  Promotions that are easy for fans to understand, fit into their busy schedules…and of course don’t cost a lot.  Maybe instead of the 4:15 plan, we go up to  4:20!!!

Speak with you soon…

Jim

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WARNING – SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION!

April 6, 2009

Most readers know the LiveWorks Newsletter is not about promoting our festivals, events, and tours.  At the same time,  The Great American Food & Music Fest  (http://www.greatamericanfoodandmusicfest.com )is newsworthy, something we are very proud of, and want you to know about it…tell your friends…and come to the event yourself!

The best festival style “family friendly” event that I can think of in America is C3’s Austin City Limits Music Festival.  These guys make it relatively comfortable to bring your family to a very large event and have a good time.  Yes the venue is amazing…but so is the talent schedule, tag-a kid program, local food options, prices, number of water stations, bathrooms, and entertainment choices in general (even sand to play in).  What if you could combine the best elements of ACL ; what we learned over the years touring the amphitheatres; youthful summer memories of the Saratoga Jazz Festival (food, fun, family, friends…and music, just like ACL); the rock star status that celebrity chefs have taken on; and the best of the best of all- American Food (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, BBQ, ice cream, etc)?  You would get The Great American Food & Muisc Fest.  Below is how the professional would (did) write it…

The Great American Food and Music Fest ,  a one-day event celebrating the rich traditions of classic American fare and music, will be held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on Saturday, June 13, 2009.  It will be hosted by chef and Food Network personality Bobby Flay.

At the festival legendary purveyors of classic American food, celebrity chefs and extraordinary musicians will come together for the first time ever, at an affordable price.  Some of the most acclaimed culinary establishments in the country will be on-site to serve their specialties, including:  Pink’s Hot Dogs (LA), Barney Greengrass (NYC), Graeter’s Ice Cream  (Cincinnati),  Southside Market Barbecue (Texas), Anchor Bar (Buffalo, NY; inventor of Buffalo wings), and Tony Luke’s Cheesesteaks (Philadelphia). In addition, some of the Bay Area’s best food establishments will be featured along with great American wines and specialty cocktails.

The culinary presentations will be augmented by live music from Little Feat, Marshall Crenshaw, and jazz, blues, and swing outfit Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, among many others. The full line-up will be announced shortly. In addition to Flay, there will also be a gathering of other food world notables, including the star of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, & DivesGuy Fieri.

Tickets for the event will be available for sale beginning April 5th and can be purchased at LiveNation.com, Blockbuster Video locations, and the Shoreline Amphitheatre box office. There are a number of ticket options available for the event to make it accessible to everyday food lovers without breaking the bank. General admission starts at $35 inclusive of all service charges and includes your first plate of food for free. 

Well I hope to see you there!

Speak with you soon…

Jim

Market The Experience

November 17, 2008

Driving down one of our wonderfully congested streets in LA, I was struck by the billboard pasted below.  It reminded me that in the live business we never market the experience, just the show itself.  If we changed this, we would sell more tickets.

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The above ad from Pom Wonderful does not tout the great taste of the beverage, its calorie count, unique color, or any of its other characteristics that could set it apart from its competitors.  Instead, Pom grabs you with a headline, Cheat death… and a noose.  Pretty easy message to understand.

On your next tour, show, event, whatever, try marketing the experience rather than the show.  If you are a concert promoter and have the band moe. coming through, try monitoring fan sites and chat rooms to see how they describe the act’s shows…and then market that.  If you produce family entertainment or sports, push the bond parents can make with their children rather than the opportunity to see “so and so Live”.

Over the years, I’ve written many times about my concert experiences growing up at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY.  It would start with meeting up at a friend’s house.  This way we could caravan up and park next to each other for tailgating.  Driving I-87 North or South (depending on where you live in that part of upstate NY) you would see all the other cars, vans and pickups headed to the same place you were.  Sometimes it would be as obvious as a carload of people and a sign in their window that said “ ____ or bust”.  Other times it would be something simple like a beat-up Trans-Am (hey I did say upstate NY) driving next to you  blaring the latest album from the artist you are going to see, on a  stereo worth more than their whole car.

Once at the show, walking around and people watching was the thing to do.  That and marshmallow fights.  At dusk, the opening act would usually hit the stage.  Most of the audience were trickling into the venue by now, but not always paying attention to the band.  Finally at 9:30 pm; house lights would dim, stage work lights would go out, and with much anticipation in the air the artist that everyone had come to see would light-up the crowd.  You sang every word to every song and didn’t leave until the house music came up and the blinding light of reality signaled the march back to your car.

Describe that when marketing your next live event.  How is the show going to make your audience feel?  What will the experience be like?  Why should they pay money to go?  It has been said a million times… “Sell the sizzle not the steak.”  Most purchases are based on an emotional response.  What could be better than hanging with your best friends, watching your favorite live attraction with people who are sharing in your excitement!  Market that to fans and watch the tickets start selling.

Talk to you soon…

Jim

“My Heros Have Always Been”…Promoters?

November 12, 2008

I always loved that song – with the word promoters replaced with the actual lyric cowboys of course.  But the title of this newsletter is true.  There are three giants of the live and branded live entertainment businesses that make up a majority of TAG Events & Entertainment DNA.  They are Walt Disney, Bill Graham, and PT Barnum.

Here is how our three DNA strands come together.  Walt Disney created the ultimate Experiences in everything he did, whether it was the first full-length animated motion picture or the first themed amusement park (although I do believe that there was a park that opened a month before that did nursery rhymes and that kind of stuff).  Concert promoter Bill Graham always remembered that what was most important were the Audience and the Talent, while P.T. Barnum was the best at Communicating the Experiences his Audiences would have at his shows.

Over the past 10-years or more, we in the live business have moved away from these three simple principles of creating amazing, once in a lifetime experiences for audiences, and then properly communicating those experiences to that audience.  Tonight let’s look at Communicating and a few ideas to remind you how easy and fun our jobs can be.

Promotions, and the planning and execution of them are a lost art form.  To start with, we in the live business seem to think that ticket giveaways are the only form of promotion.  Giving away tickets is only a promotion if you can keep a story going on-air.  “The 25th caller wins…” isn’t a promotion because the jock isn’t on-air long enough to make it exciting.  Now, having a station broadcast live while Playboy Playmates give away tickets to an upcoming UFC fight at a Chevy dealership, that is a promotion.  It is amazing that we have the ultimate Experiences and are just not that good at communicating it.

Have you seen the print ads and outdoor that Virgin America has been running lately?  Those ads do a great job of communicating an experience; and they are an airline.  Would you rather fly or go see your favorite team, singer, or family show perform?  Here are a few links for you to decide for yourself. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://images.patronmail.com/pmailemailimages/132/116004/photo_1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://jessicamah.com/blog/%3Fp%3D330&h=600&w=500&sz=318&hl=en&start=1&usg=__wJF5Iqc2f1SBk5S2Fr0qur6R9FA=&tbnid=zvI8pH8ILZKhzM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=113&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dvirgin%2BAmerica%2Bads%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den

And now this… http://www.oldhandbills.com/images/060807/Bon_Jovi-Goo_Goo_Dolls-Staples_Center.jpg

Certainly not knocking Bon Jovi’s creativity here.  These are the current tools of our trade… :30 second radio & cable TV spots, 1/4 page print ads, email blasts that mostly get ignored, links on websites, flyering cars at the last minute, and all with very little description of what the fan will actually experience because we are too busy making sure we have all the sponsor tags, the right music beds of songs no one has ever heard of, and of course all the promoters names in there because that’s what is really selling the tickets.  There has to be another way.  Start experimenting.  Here are some ideas.

1) Double incentivize the talent or show with commissions on top of what they are already making in guarantees.  You will see the most action from direct to consumer marketing.  If bands can sell more tickets directly to their fans, let them make the ticket markups and commissions instead of you.  Get Talent working for you.

2) Family shows and sports are the only ones that seem to be able to handle group sales with any success.  The rest of us should take some lessons.  Start by assigning one person in your office as lead and come-up with a group sales strategy.  Look at pricing and models of the groups sales at buildings, sports and family shows and off you go.

3) Try media partners.  The idea of spreading shows across different stations, papers, magazines, etc, is just diluting your message in many cases.  2009 should be the end of the “Neutral Show” unless your show can sell no matter what.  By focusing on fewer media outlets, you should get a lot more bang out of it.

4) Use the economy for your promotions.  For instance, the average price for a gallon of gas in America is now down to $2.30 (not in LA).  If we can see a direct relationship between ticket sales and the price of gas, let’s promote that in a big way…while we still can.

5) Ringling shouldn’t be the only ones to do a “Circus Walk”.  It drives me crazy.  The animals have to get from the train to the gig somehow but PT Barnum turned it into an event in every city.   It still makes news everywhere.  Invent your own circus walk.

6) Guinness Book of World Records stunts get the media out every time.

7) Out hustle/work/promote your competitors.  I was watching a special on TV about Will Smith (the making of something) and they showed him goofing with the cameras.  He said the most interesting thing.  Something like, “you know why I win? Because while you are out partying, I’m working, while you are sleeping, I’m working, while you are watching TV, I’m working…”  Maybe take a lesson from Will.

Before we close, I also wanted to point out something from one of my previous posts, “Drop Your Prices Already”.  It was brought to my attention that artists like Metallica are back with a new album and tour.  Tickets are priced at $59.50, very reasonable.  AC/DC’s current tour is also scaled very sensibly.  As sports ticket sales fall-off in all but the largest cities, you in the sports community should be thinking about price as well.

Talk to you soon,

Jim