The most awesome marketing metaphor ever

Direct from the incomparable Seth Godin…

From Seth’s post:

My favorite part happens just before the first minute mark. That’s when guy #3 joins the group. Before him, it was just a crazy dancing guy and then maybe one other crazy guy. But it’s guy #3 who made it a movement.

Initiators are rare indeed, but it’s scary to be the leader. Guy #3 is rare too, but it’s a lot less scary and just as important. Guy #49 is irrelevant. No bravery points for being part of the mob.

We need more guy #3s.

From here on in it’s all about starting to dance and then high-fiving guy #3, as far as I’m concerned.

Well dear, your father and I met at a play…

Pi Theatre has announced a lovely little promotional night: they have designated the Friday, May 8 performance of John and Beatrice as a Singles Night. Utilizing the cozy lounge and outdoor terrace of the PAL theatre in Coal Harbour, they’re hosting a post-show Mixer for all guests should they choose to hand out and mix. Cute.

They’re also doing some cool guerilla marketing; stapling mock lonely hearts ads to telephone poles around town with pull-tabs that direct you to information on the play. And I only know about this because a friend of mine saw one and totally fell for it, and had to tell me about it. Nice work guys.

Here’s director Del Surjik talking about the work:

One more chance to catch Ashes

I had a load of people asking me if and when they could get another chance to see Bill Marchant’s recent play Ashes after I flipped my lid for it on World Theatre Day.

There’s one more chance to catch this roundly excellent production this coming Friday, May 1 at the Metro Theatre: 1370 Marine Drive SW (604-266-7191) as part of Theatre BC’s Greater Vancouver Zone Festival. There’s a schwack of other good work worth checking out all week there to.

The man himself on his own work…

My very own marketing Simonar…er, Seminar. Wanna come?

socialmediaThis is an important section of history for the Independent Arts. Something amazing is happening right now, a consciousness shift into a new way of how we deliver our work and our message to our audience. It’s about what we have to do now to sell ourselves, and get our art distributed. It’s an amazing time.

Marketing has evolved from what it was a generation ago. The old model of getting ad copy and images into the faces of anybody and everybody just doesn’t work anymore. We grew up with it, and it’s become noise that we can filter out with hardly any effort. It’s a change that’s been tearing through every industry. Now it’s our turn. It’s time to stop spending our budgets and time on taping posters to lamp posts. It’s time to start making real connections.

The internet is garish and often tacky, it’s full of crap, and sitting with it for too long hurts your back. It’s content is free, so it’s noisy in a language all its own. It’s also a big, shiny tool, and a very effective tool when wielded properly, because everyone is now spending a certain amount of their day on it. And they finally have total control over what information they receive. This means that our audience will now find us, we just need to be ready for them when they do. It’s going to take some creativity. Fortunately, that just so happens to be our stock in trade.

The smart people of the world who know how to build internet things have been busy making the place ready for these kinds of introductions. They have created systems whereby people looking for things they think are cool can meet the people that create them. And they’ve kept them all free, miraculously enough. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc, etc…these are all meeting areas where you can connect with people who are interested in your product. This is the new marketing.

If this is all a bit new to you – and as you’re an artist with more tactile things on the go there’s a good chance it is – all you need is to learn the language of this way of communicating. If it sounds weird and freaky and intimidating that’s because it’s supposed to, it’s new. I’ve been doing this for a while now and believe me, it’s actually ridiculously simple once you learn how it all fits together. If you’re reading this, you’re halfway there. You’re just going to have to do a little composing of your own soon…

I know the big change is coming when this tool kit tips from being used by a small amount of people to the majority of us. I know it’s coming because the number of times I get asked about it is increasing by the day. So if you’re interested in getting a comprehensive introduction to the language and tools that comprise Social Media, you can sign up for one of the seminars that Rebecca Coleman of Rebecca Coleman Marketing and Media Relations and I are holding through the Alliance for Arts and Culture (Who, by the way, recently proudly announced the launch of their very own blog. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!). We’re keeping them fairly small so there will be lots of personalized interaction. But spaces are apparently going fast…

Demystifying Social Media:
Arts Promotion in the Online World

Tuesday, May 5, 2008


Tuesday, May 12, 2009
1:00 -5:00pm
Alliance for Arts & Culture Boardroom
Suite 100 – 938 Howe Street

The face of marketing has changed. Traditional public relations techniques are evolving to keep pace with rapidly advancing technology, instant communication and an audience faced with staggering choice. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, LinkedIn, Flickr… it’s noisy, it’s overwhelming, and it’s here to stay. How do you get a handle on it all?

This four-hour workshop will help neophyte and experienced arts marketers and publicists to navigate this new world of opportunity. Site by site, we will:

* introduce you to the language and etiquette of social media and Web 2.0
* define its place in your personal marketing toolbox
* dispel all those inevitable misconceptions that go hand-in-hand with emerging technologies
* help you create a new media marketing plan that’s right for your organization

Workshop cost: $50 (+GST) for Alliance members, $75 (+GST) for non-members

Pre-registration and payment is required. Pre-payment is required in order to register for the workshop. We accept Cash, VISA, MC, or cheque. Please call our office at the number below with a credit card number or mail a cheque or drop off your payment in person at our office. 24 hours cancellation notice required to obtain full refund. The Alliance reserves the right to cancel workshops if registration is too low.

Please phone 604-681-3535 or email to register.

And, of course, we’ve got a Facebook page if you’d like to share…


Simon Ogden is a produced playwright and the Managing Director of Lyric Stage Project, an outgrowth of Lyric School of Acting. He is also the marketer and publicist for LSP, and actively promotes the industry of theatre through his online Theatre magazine The Next Stage, with the ultimate goal of creating a sustainable independent theatre community in Vancouver. He has been writing and producing his own work for ten years, and with the Lyric ensemble for two, with whom he recently mounted a successful run of their first original full-length work, The 21st Floor, at the PAL Theatre in Coal Harbour. Follow him on twitter @thenextstagemag

Rebecca Coleman has been a freelance theatre publicist since 2001, working for companies like Touchstone, Ruby Slippers Theatre, Capilano University’s Theatre Department, Presentation House, Radix and Leaky Heaven Circus. An actor, writer and producer, she is also very passionate about helping artists to be better businesspeople. For two years, she was lead facilitator at the Alliance’s SEARCH Program, a self-employment program for artists. Over the last year, she has become increasingly interested in using social media networking to market the arts, and writes about the subject frequently on her blog, The Art of the Business. Follow her on twitter @rebeccacoleman

Creative marketing watch – Merch edition

My name is Simon. I’m a huge theatre nerd. If I establish a relationship with a company, or a band, or a festival, I’d pay money to show it. There are a lot of people just like me.


I’ve got a relationship with these guys solely through our social media connections, where they continue to open up their process and remain accessible to their audience and their larger community. They’re cool and they know it.

My name is Simon, and I’ll wear your merch.

Creative marketing watch – web edition


Image courtesty of Nick Keenan Artketing Inc.

When it comes to getting the brand and the message out to the people, there is no industry that has such a perfect inversely proportional equation of cash<creativity as the Independent Stage. How can we plug this equation into our marketing operations to tip this see-saw back the other way a little?

Obviously, I spend a fair bit of time among the internets, and it’s no secret that I hold the firm belief that Stage has to cozy up to the Web more and more as on-line resources continue their transition from ‘trend’ to ‘new media’ to ‘media’. So I’m always scanning like a vulture for fun and creative uses of the medium to sell live performance. Here’s a few recent samples:

  • I caught a tweet from Chicago’s Urban Theater today that pointed me to a new posting on their Vimeo page. It’s a quick clip of their Artistic Director inviting his community to come out and see their new show, Broken Thread. The production quality of the clip could be better, but it offers a direct connection to the AD himself, tells you it’s a low-cost affair and how to buy tickets. And if you follow the link to their web site, there’s more video all over it, including an interview with the playwright of the show. Simple and effective, and personal. Actually, that sounds a little familiar…
  • Another Twitter-related hit: a few weeks ago I casually answered a theatre trivia question tweeted by New York’s Playhouse 21, and within minutes they sent me back a congratulatory tweet asking me where they could send the prize. At this point I know nothing about this company (I’ll follow anybody on Twitter that claims theatre), nor that they were even offering prizes for trivia tweets. I just tripped over the question and happened to know the answer. But I sent them my address anyway and pretty much put it out of my mind. Until a week later when a package arrived from West 19th Street in NYC containing my swag: A personal letter from the company’s founder and a packaged DVD of one of their productions. How cool is that? And remarkably pro-active, the letter contained information about their upcoming projects, their budget requirements and a sponsorship request. Brassy. I don’t have any money to give them, but I can sure plug them to my online community (that’s y’all). This is a great lesson: you never know who is going to be responsible for bringing in money, so target your best-bet demo and scattershot your Social Media marketing. (Incidentally, Playhouse 21 also has one of the most unique mandates I’ve ever heard of: they adapt classic “Golden Age” television from the ’50s into theatre. Now that’s niche.)
  • This one I’m deeply in love with: New York’s MCC Theatre (yuh-huh, also on the Twitter) holds on-line auctions for memorabilia from their plays once they’re over. Right now the available items seem to be signed playbills and music and lyrics, which is cool, but as someone who has left some plays wishing I could get actions figures of the characters and playsets for those action figures, I’m thinking: how about auctioning off redundant props or costumes or set-dec after the run, and making sure everyone in the audience knows about it? I may be in the minority here, but I flip out when I see a merch table outside a theatre. Cater to nerds like me, I’ll make it worth your while.

How about you guys? Anybody seen any kick-ass Creative Marketing Solutions lately that they’d care to share?

Game day! 2 tickets to ‘Ashes’ up for grabs!


Buzz is quickly building around the premiere of beloved local playwright Bill Marchant‘s new play Ashes, playing at the Firehall, and to keep it buzzing the producing team has made available a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky The Next Stage reader! Ready for it? Here we go…

To claim your prize, be the first person to leave a comment on this post the closest to 12 noon Vancouver time today, Thursday, March 19, but not before. The comment must include the name of at least one of the members of the cast.

The tickets are valid for opening night: Tuesday, March 24, or Wednesday the 25th or Thursday the 26th only.

Free theatre, up for grabs on The Next Stage. Because theatre loves you. Thanks for stopping by!

Click here for full details on this production