How to take advantage of Black Friday for your show.

Today is the biggest shopping day of the year.  But I doubt that it’s the biggest theater ticket selling day of the year.

For some reason, buying theater tickets can never compete with iPads, Kindles, and the latest Furbee.  Part of that is the nature of what we’re selling – it’s expensive, it’s date specific (unless you get a gift card, except shows don’t sell gift cards (!) and Telecharge gift cards seem less personal), it’s non-refundable, etc.

A theater ticket is a tough sell as a gift – no question.

But does that mean we should roll over and let Furbees own the day?


Here are five things you can do to take advantage of the buying mood on Black Friday.

1.  Black Friday Email Blast

The simplest yet most effective.  Send a note to your list offering a one day only sale for your show.  And if you’ve got a lot of tickets to move, make the sale significant.  Remember, it’s one day only.

2.  Be Where The Shoppers Are

While sure, every year, online shopping increases, there still are a ton of people who love the experience of walking around a brick-and-mortar mall.  Can you rent a kiosk for the day?  What about having street hawkers out front?  Unless your theater is in a mall, you should be there.

3.  Increase Your Adwords Budget and Customize The Campaign

Adwords revolutionized online advertising.  Scratch that.  Adwords revolutionized advertising.  I still remember the Gypsy ad meeting I was in when our account exec said, “There’s this new thing that Google is pitching . . . let’s you buy words for a nickel.”  We bought ‘Bernadette Peters’ . . . and never looked back.  And Adwords were a huge part of the success of The Awesome 80s Prom in its early days.  So everyone has an Adwords account now.  But too many shows use a “set it and forget it” mentality on this important component of their campaign.  On a day like Black Friday, increase the budget, change the ads to push a Black Friday sale, and yes, even have your own BF landing page.  (Don’t have an Adwords Account?   Or need help optimizing it?  Email this Google Certified guy – he’ll help you get started).

4.  Can’t Compete?  So Co-Op

Another reason why theater tickets aren’t on the top of the Black Friday shopper’s list is that we don’t spend a bazillion dollars promoting the day like all the other big brand retailers out there.  How do we compete with Best Buy, Target, Macy’s and more?  Time for a little Co-Op.  Get together with some other shows or theater companies in your town, and buy media together.  Make a print ad and split the cost.  Create a website and split the cost.  Last I checked, was available.

5.  Get Up Early, Open Late, and Make It Special

Walmart, Best Buy and Target are just a few of the stores opening up at Midnight on Friday to cater to those early shoppers.  Toys ‘R Us started their BF celebration on Thursday at 9 PM.  You too can show that you’re going the extra mile by adding some hours for your shoppers pleasure.  And yeah, serve some egg nog, or turkey sandwiches, or if you’re a family show or theater, add a Santa.  In other words, make it an event.  Sure, shoppers go out on BF for the sales, but I also think they go out for the experience.


Happy shopping and selling, everyone!


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.