Why Politicians Need A Marketing Lesson To Get People To Stay Inside.

In his daily midday address the other day, the butt-kickin’ Governor of NY, Andrew Cuomo, once again tried to emphasize how important it was that everyone stayed the @#$% inside during this crisis.

“I’ve tried to say this so many different ways,” he said, obviously frustrated that he was still not getting his message through to all the right people.

And he’s not the only one.

“Staying inside saves lives,” all the Politicians and Docs have said over the past few weeks.  “Because sure, sure, 80% of the folks who get it will recover, but you could pass it on to someone that is one of the unlucky folks who don’t.  So stay inside to help others.”

Makes sense.  A very compelling argument, right?

Of course.  But unfortunately, it’s just not enough for a heck of a lot of people.

What all the folks behind those podiums are forgetting is that they are selling something.  It’s just not a product that comes in an Amazon box.  It’s a message.  And that message could be more valuable than Jeff Bezos’s entire net worth.

And to get people to “buy” it, they need to go back to marketing basics.

When designing a marketing campaign of any kind, you must remember The Non-Golden Rule . . . people do things for what’s in it for them.  As ugly as it is to admit . . . self-interest is the public’s primary motivating factor.

Gross but true.

So telling people how staying inside will help other people may not be the most effective way to get these folks to actually do it.

It should be part of the argument, for sure.  But in my opinion, the Politicians and Doctors are missing out on a very important part of the message. . .

And the lead that they’ve buried is this . . . even though 80% of the people who get this thing may not have to go to the hospital, they could be dreadfully and disgustingly ill.

I was reminded of this myself when I read Drew Gasparini’s Instagram Story the other day.  If you don’t know him, Drew is a composer-who-will-be-reckoned-with (he’s the guy behind the upcoming Karate Kid score and he was featured on my Podcast recently as #SongWriterOfTheWeek) who also just battled COVID-19 and is now, thankfully, on the other side.

But before he broke the virus’s back, this is what he went through:

It is not hyperbolic when I say this is easily the sickest I’ve ever felt to the point that my own mind was questioning whether or not I was going to be able to wake up the next day.

There was nothing to prepare me for how god awful it is.  I am on day 10, and I am very very slowly turning the corner but my experience was so bad that I am still very much just a shell of myself.  I have never in my life felt as sick or scared that my body couldn’t handle something in my entire life. Ever. Not even close.

Here’s what my week felt like:

  • Constant fever between 100-103 (treated every 4-6 hours with Tylenol)
  • Chills and aches. Sometimes it got so bad that I would shiver when I left bed to the point that I would fall to my knees and have a hard time getting back up.
  • No taste or smell (this is common with this virus)
  • The fatigue was (still is) so bad I could barely lift my head or open my eyes. The most I traveled was from my bed to the couch and I really weighed out the bathroom trips.
  • Perpetual nausea. It was constant, and painful as I tried to force nutrients into my body…
  • Anytime I did eat it would be immediate (overshare) diarrhea.
  • A cough, that once it started it would become a long coughing fit

– Drew

So tell me, readers.  Even if you knew you’d recover . . . do you want to deal with any of that, never mind all of that?

And I’ve heard even worse from others.  One friend and industry professional I know had to take pain-killers because his body aches were so bad.

Another threw up blood.  Another had blood coming out the other end.

I don’t know about you, but that’s enough to make me stay inside and bodywash with sanitizer.

And that message could affect the behavior of others in the way the politicians, doctors, and everyone wants and needs.

Hearing what the virus has the potential to do to YOU not only gets at the self-interest in all of us, but it also invokes one of the other primary marketing axioms . . . The Pain-Pleasure Principle.

People will always run to pleasure.  And run from pain.

The current marketing of this “stay inside” message hasn’t showcased enough personal pain to get some of the population to trade in the pleasure of going to spring break, gathering at friend’s apartments, etc.

In fact, the “marketing” has done the opposite.  The current message, and I’m quoting a website here, is “Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.”

While that may be true, and while it does prevent panic, from a marketing perspective, it doesn’t help keep people locked down.  If we want people to listen, we need to tell them, “You can get this.  And yes, you’ll most likely recover.  But in the process, it could hurt.  A lot.  So prevent yourself from the chance of (INSERT DISGUSTING SYMPTOMS HERE) and stay inside.  Doing so will keep you feeling great, and could also save the lives of your friends, family and fellow New Yorkers.”

(This theory is the same that was used in those very successful anti-smoking ads that show people speaking with no larynx, etc.)

I’m sure most of the people who read this blog are the part of the population who are staying inside.  But if you know people who aren’t, and you really want to get them to stay inside, use the above message on them, will ya?

And special thanks to Drew for his honesty.

– – – – –

Last night on our live stream we featured Actor, Producer, Artrepreneuer ALAN CUMMING!  Click here to watch the replay and hear him talk about . . .

  • How he’s utilizing this time of forced isolation to write his next book. . . and bake homemade crackers!
  • His number one tip to negotiating (you may be surprised by his response . . .)
  • What he’s learned from doing his podcast, Homosapiens.

And tonight at 8 PM EDT, we have stage director Leigh Silverman joining us!  Click here to get a reminder to tune in!

When will we come back and WHAT will come back.

It has officially been two weeks since the “social distancing guidelines” set by the Federal Government went into effect, and if one thing is clear from the confusing chatter coming from the Presidential pressers every day, it’s this . . .

It’s going to be a bit before the country opens back up, never mind Broadway.

As of yesterday, gone is the embarrassing goal of an Easter “re-opening” for the country with “packed churches.”  (I mean, I love setting lofty BHAGs, but anyone in the achievement space knows that setting an impossible goal only sets yourself up for failure – and failing at a goal makes it harder for you to achieve the next one . . . and harder for your followers to believe that you will achieve that next one.)

The next deadline for a re-examining of the social distancing guidelines, and therefore a determination of whether or not some businesses will reopen, (set again by the guy currently in the White House) is April 30th. 

But if you’re listening to Fauci, it’ll be longer.  Much longer.  And even though NY’s Governor Cuomo has kept non-essential workers home only through April 15th, he’s also acknowledging that NY has a bigger problem than anywhere else in the US – so how could it ever open up soon?

In the muck of all these differing opinions, one thing has become very clear to me . . .

Different sections of the country will open up at different times.

And more importantly, within those geographic locations, different types and sizes of businesses will open up at different times.

It’s common sense.

The idea of one day waking up and having it go back to the way it was six months ago, with Basketball games packin’ arenas and with OpenTable tellin’ us there wasn’t a reservation to be had at your favorite restaurant, is the kind of Hollywood happy ending that’s just not going to happen.

It’s just not going to be that kind of “Alexa, apartment lights on,” type of switch.

The virus didn’t shut everything in the country down in 24 hours and it won’t let us restart everything in 24 hours either.

It’s going to be gradual.

And it has to be.  As Cuomo (the only politician I’m listening to these days) said in one of his pressers, he does need to get the economy, any part of that economy, going again as soon as possible.  And the moment he can let ten people go to a meeting to discuss how to sell a product, he will. The moment he can let hundred people go to a restaurant, he will.

And the moment he can let 1,500 people go to a Broadway show, he will.

But I’m doubtful it’ll be all those things will be all at once.  And it shouldn’t be.

Which brings me to this . . .

Will Off-Broadway be allowed to open up before Broadway?

And could the 499-or-less theaters that fall within that definition, or even the Off-Off Broadway theaters (at 99 seats or less) get a boost of attention and ticket sales first . . . before the Broadway factory is allowed to be operational?

I’d bet money that smaller theaters will be given permission to open up before the larger ones.  That means they could be the sole producers of live theater in the city.  Usually these smaller theaters are getting Broadway’s hand-me-down audiences, but this could be one of the few chances they have to get the theater audience all to themselves. (This is exactly what happened during the last strike in 2007 – and the Off-Broadway shows I had running, including this one and this one, boomed as a result).

And maybe, this could be another steroid shot to the renaissance of Off-Broadway that began last year (which I wrote about here).

If I were an Off-Broadway theater . . . or was producing an Off-Broadway show, I’d look to see how I could have something ready to go for when we are allowed to gather again.  Because in the midst of this darkness, there just might be a chance to stand out.

Or as John F. Kennedy said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.”

– – – – –

Tonight at 8 PM on my nightly live stream, Tony Award-winner, Steven Sater, the bookwriter of Spring Awakening Watch on my Facebook page here.  And click here to see who else is joining us this week!

 

 

The Producer’s Perspective LIVE! Episode 2: Stephen Schwartz

Last night we kicked off the first Producer’s Perspective LIVE and thanks to all the people who joined in from as far away as Spain, Australia . . . Brooklyn . . . we had a blast (catch the replay here).

And we didn’t even have a guest!

But tonight we have a G-U-E-S-T.

At 8 pm EDT (7 pm CDT/6 pm MDT/5 pm PDT) TONIGHT, for our first live-with-a-superstar episode, I’ll be sitting down across a screen from the legend who is Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin, the recently opened Prince of Egypt in London).

We’ll learn what he’s doing to stay busy (a new musical in the works perhaps???), what he plans to do once the CoronaVirus has left our lives FOR GOOD, and . . . who knows what else!

And you can see it tonight on my Facebook page.

Set your reminder here and invite a friend to join you (virtually)!

You can also watch it through the Broadway Podcast Network which is streaming the content through their Youtube channel.

See you tonight at 8 pm EDT (7 pm CDT/6 pm MDT/5 pm PDT).

Click here to visit my Facebook page now.

Oh, and tomorrow . . . Broadway Star Sierra Boggess!  To see the full schedule of who is after that, visit www.theproducersperspective.com/LIVE.  We’ll be talking to someone new every single night!

Introducing The Producer’s Perspective LIVE! Starting TONIGHT at 8 PM

Last weekend, when I realized I wouldn’t be seeing a lot of my friends, acquaintances (or “virtually” anyone) in-person for quite some time, I started reaching out via FaceTime, Zoom and Text just to check-in and see how they were doing.

Well, they showed me.

In the first few moments of our chit-chat, they had me laughing, they had me learning (sharing their tips of how they were getting through this), and they had me inspired to do something to help anyone out there who need the same medicine that I inadvertently did!

That’s when I thought . . . more people need to hear from these amazing folks.

So that’s what we’re doing.

Inspired by my podcast and the little pick-me-ups I described above, tonight we start TheProducersPerspectiveLIVE!

Every night at 8 PM EDT, we’ll have a superstar TheaterMaker join us for a brief chat about how they are doing, what they are doing, and what tips they are for you on getting through, and eventually, getting back to what we all love to do . . . make theater.

And yes, that’s right . . . no recorded edited episodes here.  These will be LIVE and ON VIDEO, streaming live on Facebook.

And just look at who has already shot their hand up and said YES, I’ll do it!

Stephen Schwartz – Tuesday, March 24th
Sierra Boggess – Wednesday, March 25th
Alex Brightman – Thursday, March 26th

Rick Miramontez – Friday, March 27th
Stephen Flaherty – Saturday, March 28th
Pam MacKinnon – Sunday, March 29th

Steven Sater – Monday March 30th
Jennifer Tepper – Tuesday, March 31st
Alan Cumming – Wednesday, April 1st
Leigh Silverman – Thursday, April 2nd
Sergio Trujillo – Friday, April 3rd
Jeanine Tesori – Saturday, April 4th
Anthony Veneziale

David Henry Hwang
Andrew Lippa
Lonny Price
Kevin McCollum
Zalmen Mlotek
Ryan Scott Oliver
Damian Bazadona
Drew Hodges
David Rockwell
Jack Tantleff
Al Nocciolino
John Caird
Des McAnuff
Stephen Byrd
James Lapine

It’ll be every night, 7 days a week.  And you can see the schedule for the series here.

I’ll kick it off tonight to talk a little more about it, take some questions (and honestly, test the technology before I get a big star online).

Tune in to my Facebook page TONIGHT, Monday March 23rd, at 8pm ET (7pm CT / 6pm MT / 5pm PT) to hear more about it AND get an update on what will be joining us.  And to find the most up-to-date schedule and list of guests, visit this page: www.TheProducersPerspective.com/Live.

See you tonight . . . and every night!  And don’t forget, the schedule is here!

 

We are all playing the greatest role of our lives right now.

There has never been a bigger “drama” than what we’re all seeing right now.

And it’s so ripped from the headlines, it’s absolutely real.

The difference with this one . . . is that, well, you know how shows usually have stars?  And then there are those occasional, beautiful, evened out ensemble pieces . . . where no one role gets the spotlight . . . but the spotlight is shared by the entire cast.

That’s this.  Right now.

We’re all a part of this show, whether we like it or not, and it’s time for all of us to shine.

And we do that by doing exactly what our Director (The CDC!) is telling us to do.

Our brand new “lines” and stage directions are below.  Don’t improvise.  Don’t think, “Shoot, I’ve been on stage before . . . I know how to do this.”

You don’t.  I don’t.  No one does.

So be the best chorus boy or girl you can and perform the stage directions as written.

The script, “15 Days To Slow The Spread,” is below.

And, well, the curtain is already up.  And it’s time to show ’em what you’ve got.

(And tune in tomorrow, or subscribe here . . . as we’ve got fun, productive, practical tips for all you TheaterMakers out there to make use of this time.)

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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