“You have to commit!”

Who hasn’t heard that sage old advice before performing? Commitment is the key to any good performance because if you appear to believe in it then you convince the audience to believe it as well. But, believe it or not, commitment is just as important off the stage . . .

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With Dirty Rotten Scoundrels preparing to open in Sydney later this year, I thought it was time to check out the Broadway production and see if we can learn anything from them. Marketing wise, of course, not just so that I can watch countless YouTube videos!

And I came across this article.

Basically, the producers of the Broadway production decided to market the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels cast recording in a revolutionary way that would gain encourage people to book tickets to the show and, of course, gain a bit of publicity.

Prior to the launch of the cast album, 50,000 copies were set aside to be given out to audience members during the month of May, with a considerable number set aside for Scoundrels fans and theatre buffs who turned up to a special launch. Did I mention they were free?

That’s right, it’s an accountant’s nightmare. (Maybe the storyline for a sequel to The Producers?)

50,000 cast albums were being given away which was a pretty large financial undertaking. But luckily for the producers of Scoundrels, it paid off as the show continued to run for another 14 months after the stunt!

So now is the interesting question. Why?

A couple of reasons:

1.       Publicity

Up against the stiff competition of Spamalot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee opening as well as the Christina Applegate-led Sweet Charity, something rather remarkable and unbelievable is needed to get your show onto the radar of these news sites. And an expensive and wide-spread give-away is just the thing to remind people to come to your show!

2.       Value

There was a reason that your parents taught you to say thank you and everybody who attended the show or lined up for the free album received a tangible souvenir that said ‘Thank you for supporting us’. A great way to encourage reciprocity from your clientele by giving them a gift, especially one that reminds them of the fantastic time they had at the show when they listen to it.

And most importantly . . .

3.       Commitment

The producers clearly had faith that everyone who listened to their show would enjoy it. They took such a big financial risk that was offset by their confidence that listeners to the album would feel the need to spend more money and hear the album performed live at one of their performances. And it is this commitment which then convinces listeners to gamble $120 on a ticket to the show, even if they aren’t sure that they will like it, because these people clearly believe in their product.

So if you are ever looking for some sage advice, here it is: ‘You have to commit’. If you do, then you will convince your audience that your idea is worth committing to as well!

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