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Chapter 2: Marketing Shall Set You Free

Here's the second installment of how my life in marketing got off to a very rough start. Chapter 2 of Marketing Mishaps.

Haven’t read Chapter 1 yet? Do that first.

Guerrilla Marketing my way to freedom

So this agent starts sending me around town to big auditions, right? Oh wait—I need to tell you first how I was able to promote the show that she discovered me at. I discovered a row of bars on ninth avenue close to the theatre, so we printed up an awesome design for the show and put them in nearby bars, but instead of taping them outside the building and onto construction site walls like the other advertisers, we went in and talked to the bar manager and asked if we could tape the poster on the other side of the glass from the inside so nobody could steal it.

That didn’t even work.

At one of our shows someone had brought the poster with him to be signed. That’s how fuckin awesome they looked. He musta went inside one of the bars and tore it down in front of everyone. Anyway the reason I thought we should put the posters in bars on ninth Avenue instead of all over the place is cause those posters are expensive. Better to paper the shit the out of one small area so the people on those blocks saw it ten times than to put them up all over the city so people only see it once.

Who remembers something they only see once?

So that’s why the posters were put up on Ninth Avenue, and that’s why people found out about the show. 

Still we needed more because on the first show the theater was only a third full and it was only a fifty-five seat theater.

So we decided to strike a deal with a buncha blue-haired audience fillers. Right so there’s this thing called audience fillers in the theater world. Basically it’s a membership program for old people who want cheap shows. Theater producers give away half the tickets for their shows to these membership programs who in turn offer these shows to their members for a cheap-as-fuck price, which we see nothing of, but it fills up the seats so that every show doesn’t look empty. To the ten people that actually bought tickets at full price, to them it looks like the show is a raving hit cause there’re no empty seats. 

It’s a win-win. 

They get to give their members shows for dirt cheap and we get to fill up the seats without anyone noticing. It’s like the equivalent of buying likes on Instagram. But with real senior citizens.

But we had to sell more tickets. How?

I hired this PR rep named Jim. Jim had no office. His desk sat in the middle of a large open floor plan with random freelancers. Like prehistoric WeWork. Anyway I hired this fuck to promote the play cause he said he specialized in theater PR. Truth is PR is PR and any PR woulda done just fine. I remember called up Rotten Tomatoes.

Get that?

Rotten Tomatoes. At the time some old woman picked up the phone. It was just her and her husband I think. Now they’re an app on everyone’s phone. Now they are the score that tells the world whether a movie is good or bad. But back then in 2006 they wrote about theater and they had a phone number and actually answered the phone.

I called and asked for a review. She says to me:

“I don’t know hun we’ah pretty busy. I’ll see if I can get to ya.”

And she hung up. She never came. That’s why I looked for a PR company. That’s how I found Jim. He got us a couple write-ups for like three grand. You can still find them. Here let me look for the link in playbill….

I could only find this one.

But point is once all that crazy promo worked and I got the agent, and then she sent me to meet the biggest producers in town but I flunked cause I was strung out on Xanax to calm the nerves, we broke up (my agent and I) and by broke up I mean I called her drunk from a bar in forest hills and fired her. Then I was on my own again and had to figure out how to earn a living without any high school or college or family and basically all I had were my ideas. So I decided to brand myself as a weed dealer and launder my money through theater promotion and keep going bigger and bigger till I got a show that worked. I just had to find a way to promote and market the show so well that I didn’t even need an agent to represent me. 

Marketing shall set me free.

Then I came up with a brilliant idea and my career in marketing took shape. Only thing? It landed me the worst PR the world has ever known.


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