Favorite Quotes Vol. XXVIII: How to plan publicity.

Cameron Mackintosh is to Broadway what Henry Ford was to automobiles.

The Mac Man came on to the scene in the ’80s, and revolutionized how our shows were made, marketed, and merchandised.

So to quote a marketing phrase from the ’80s, when he speaks, I listen.

There was a nifty article about the 25th anniversary of Les Miz in the London Telegraph yesterday that had a great honest quip from Sir Mackintosh about how to get great press.

He was remarking on how Susan Boyle’s YouTube shattering performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” (almost 50 million views) put Les Miz back on the map, and gave it a “popular” hit, which reignited interested in the classic show.  When talking about the unplanned performance, he said:

It was the publicity shot anyone would dream of, although of course it would never happen if you tried to make it a publicity stunt.

We’ve talked about this idea before when it comes to creating viral videos, and the same theory applies to press.  What gets a show press is not a press agent, so stop blaming them if you can’t get your show in the NY Times.  What gets press is a great story.  And great stories are true, organic, and emotional.

A press agent is just the conduit between the story and the outlet.  A press agent is like the fleet-footed messenger bringing news from the General to those on the front lines.  Yes, some run faster.  Yes, some know shorter routes to the right people.

But if the news about your product isn’t worthy, no one will listen to them, no matter how fast they are.

Was Cameron telling us that we shouldn’t even try to get a Boyle-sized press hit for our show?  No.  He was just suggesting that the best press stunt isn’t a stunt at all.  It’s a story.

And stories require Producers, not press agents.

How a bite-size Kit Kat can make you more productive.

Someone was nice enough to drop a bag of those bite-size Kit Kats on my desk the other day.  Since it was the time of day I like to call “Sugar Time” (which is the same as Tea Time, but without the fanciness), I ripped open the bag and popped one into my mouth.

Mmmm.  Chocolatey wafery goodness.

Pop goes another.

And one more.

Then I went back to what I was doing (which was writing a blog).  And then I popped another.

15 minutes later, I was staring at a giant mound of bite-size wrappers.  I mean, it was like there had been a mini Les Miz-like French revolution on my desk, but instead of furniture and wagons, the students used Kit Kat wrappers to make their barricade.

I looked at the wrapper carnage and had a thought.  I pulled out one of the wrappers and looked at the number of ounces of wafery goodness.  Then I multiplied it by the number of bite-size bars that I ate.  Then I compared that total to the number of ounces in one regular size Kit Kat.

Surprise, surprise . . . I had eaten exactly the equivalent of one-and-a-half regular size bars in one sitting.


It was so much easier to devour more of those little buggers when they were bite-size.  Breaking the bars into little pieces not only made them easier to manage, but it also made each piece like no big deal.  Unwrap, chomp, done.  Next?

Little packaged portions made them easier to eat.  And I ended up eating more.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all devour our work in the same way?

We can.

Take whatever project you’re working on, and break it down into the little bites. Don’t try and digest the whole bar all at once.  Go piece by piece by piece . . . and “put it together.”  (Another one for all you Sondheimites).

You’ll end up doing more before you know it.

And unlike eating Kit Kats, you’ll probably end up burning calories in the process.

The Video Game follow up.

Who knew I had so many readers who were also gamers!  I got a ton of emails regarding my video game post, so I wanted to post a few quick follow ups based on a bunch of great thoughts from all of you.

  • Many of you mentioned that there were video game versions of Lion King, Aladdin, etc.  ‘Tis true, of course, but remember, these weren’t based on musicals.  They were based on movies that then became video games and then became musicals.  Could this be one of the (million) reasons that the Disney shows trounce others at the BO?  We all know that the brands are powerful before they come in to town, and this is certainly one of the elements of building that brand.
  • I agreed with so many of you who said the best shot we have at penetrating this market is in some sort of karaoke/video game.  BG commented about an “Broadway Hero” game instead of “Guitar Hero”.  I likey.
  • Looks like Lord Lloyd Webber may have beat us to the bunch of that one.  Braden and Paul sent links to this article about upcoming games on Cats and Phantom where you have to sing for your roles.  I would have preferred an action based Phantom game, but whatev.
  • Here’s a link from Gil to info on a homemade Les Miz game.  Unfortunately, it, like the Disney movies, was not inspired from the musical.  It’s a tribute to the book.  But hey, any branding of the title helps, right?
  • One reader has this thought . . . why not a musical based on a video game?  Super Mario Brothers The Musical anyone?
  • And finally, here’s a link if you want to download the Altar Boyz game I told you about, built by former employee and reader Matthew Smith.  Sinners, beware . . .

Thanks to everyone for all the cool comments.  And a reminder to the rest of you that the comments section on each entry is the place to be.  I’m lucky enough to have some smart readers so check out what people are saying and post your own.

Now, why do I have a strong desire to power up my X-Box for the first time in 6 months?