How many of you save your Broadway ticket stubs?
I saved them all.
When I was younger, I’d get my Playbill, and that ticket stub (which is no longer a stub, thanks to ticketing scanners) would go right in the middle.
Full embarrassing disclosure: when I was in high school, I used to take the cover of my Playbills, the ticket stubs, and a few choice photos from inside the Playbill, and I’d create a poor-man’s decoupage that I framed and put on my nightstand. I guess my hope was that they would help all of my Broadway dreams come true. (My Secret Garden Playbill/photo combo even had an autograph from Daisy Eagan!)
Ok, so I was a lonely kid . . . but it was pretty obvious what I was going to do when I grew up.
This post isn’t about my awkward youth (there isn’t enough space on the entire internet for me to go into that), but rather that ticket . . . which for me, and for so many of you, I bet . . . was a souvenir.
And a souvenir is merch . . . and merch is marketing.
The ticket as a souvenir is slowly but surely disappearing as we transition to e-ticketing, and eventually mobile ticketing technology (having the ticketing scanners scan an image on your phone itself, which requires no paper product at all).
And as much as I’m a huge fan of this technology (and of all technology), it’s going to take us a long time to adopt it.
- We’re always slow to adopt technology.
- Our customers like hard tickets.
While hanging out at the booth last week, I watched a woman turn to another and say, “Did you get ’em?” Her friend smiled, then fanned out five Billy Elliot tickets like a winning poker hand. They both literally screamed with joy. Now imagine what it would have been like if she showed her friend a UPC image on her phone.
Broadway tickets still have a Willy Wonka “Golden Ticket” effect that we don’t want to disappear too soon.
They are a tangible passport to entertainment that can create a positive emotional response about our product . . . whether or not you choose to frame it.
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UPDATE: Two days after I wrote this blog, it was announced that New York State became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring paper tickets. To read more about it, click here.
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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.