The Funniest Advertising On Broadway!

I was walking through Shubert Alley yesterday, and this caught me eye and made me chuckle:

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Can we really expect a consumer to believe either of these things?  Especially when they are right next to each other?

Self-proclamations are fine.  I use them . . . judiciously.  It shows confidence.  It’s just believing in yourself, which every self-help book preaches, so why shouldn’t your business use the same principles? 

NBA players have to believe they are all as good as Michael Jordan when they step on the court.  Models have to believe they are the “hottest” when they walk down the runway.  So why shouldn’t shows believe it and shout it… when appropriate.

You have to be careful where and when you use such a proclamation.  If you do it and it doesn’t make sense to the consumer (“My blog is the best blog on the web!”), or when it’s in a cluttered environment (like the one above), you actually risk having the consumer discredit you and your product.

You know what the kicker of the above is?  Both shows are handled by the same advertising agency  . . . which is arguably “The Best Advertising Agency on Broadway!”

More on the issue of agencies tomorrow.

Turning An Angry Customer Into An Ally

Everyone knows that the modern consumer likes to speak up and bark back at big business.

Here’s a fun way that one of the Kings of American media buyers used that to their advantage.

Truth is . . . I only like half of the execution of this campaign.  But the unexpectedness of the idea is brilliant.

Do you like it?

News flash: Numbers can talk!

In addition to using the numbers we crunched last week to create a budget that increases your odds of success, here’s another simple use:

One of the hardest things for producers to do is to say “No.”  Who wants to say no when a director, a designer, your child, or anybody asks for something?  Believe it or not, we would love to be able to say “Yes” to everything.  Unfortunately, it’s our job to say no when the request doesn’t assist us with our  #1 responsibility.

So, whenever possible, I let my numbers say no for me.

There’s no arguing with numbers.  While artistic tastes may vary, numbers are not ambiguous.  They are indisputable (as long as they are from reputable sources and triple verified).  I find this most helpful during negotiations.  And the great thing is, it’s not a negotiating trick or tactic.  It’s not a game.  It’s just the truth.

For example, with my Backed-In Budget (my name for designing a budget based on what the  market is bearing), we know the average length of a run for a Broadway revival.  So use it.  When an agent asks for something that doesn’t fit in the model, say, “Did you know that since 1984, the average run of a musical revival was only 51.59 weeks” and so on, using the statistics for average attendance and ticket price and so on.  Most likely, the model for your production will be higher than the average, so you’ll be able to tell the agent that you’re already above and beyond what the market is bearing, so there is no way to justify additional expenses.

Here’s what I predict will be the response, if you’ve done your homework:

Silence.

Because there is no response to the right set of numbers.

Want a practical example?  When I was negotiating contracts for Altar Boyz and an agent or someone asked for something that didn’t fit in the model, my response was, “If you can tell me the name of an Off-Broadway book musical that recouped its investment in the last 10 years, I’ll give you double what you want.”

Silence.

There’s a bet I knew I wouldn’t lose.

Again, it wasn’t a tactic or me trying to bully anyone.  It was the unfortunate truth.  To make it up to the people who were making sacrifices for the show we bonused them with a portion of profits post-recoupment.  We kept costs down trying to get us to this seemingly impossible feat, and if we got there, everyone would win . . . and most likely they will earn more than they wanted in the first place. 

And we’ll get to recoupment.  I’m going to make damn sure that no other Producer can use that same question in a future negotiation.  Sorry, guys.  🙂

Even if you think you’re a great negotiator, always let the figures talk first and last.  Because numbers are the best negotiators.

BroadwaySpace.com In The News!

Read the article in Variety here:

My Mission Statement And Yours.

Exceed expectations.

When you exceed people’s expectations, you become exceptional by definition.

And people, whether that’s your audience, your husband, your boss, etc. will have no choice but to talk about you and respect you.

In fact, exceeding expectations is the best way to prevent people from becoming your ex-audience, ex-husband, or ex-boss.

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