Some Guerilla Marketing

I forgot some notes I had made for today’s entry at work and since I spend far too much time there already, I ain’t going back. If you really wanna know what I had to say, come on back tomorrow. Oh, and by the way, this is the 101st entry since I started. Who knew I could talk so much?

I did want to make an observation about a couple guerilla marketing tactics I observed at the conference to which I have made reference this week. The first instance was with “Phoenix’s hippest dance troupe” Nebellen. The kids who were part of the troupe accosted me as I exited the resource room to encourage me to see one of their showcases. Technically, they weren’t supposed to do that of course. As I moved past them to the cyber cafe to check my email, I noticed they had also changed all the home pages on the computers to go to theirs. Obviously, they weren’t supposed to displace the conference home page, but I had to admire their creativity. (Of course, if everyone got into the act, it would have been annoying.)

The other group was The Carpetbag Brigade which had a showcase one evening at Gonzaga University. I really felt for them because they had stiltwalking as part of their current show so apparently couldn’t do their show at any of the indoor venues. Unfortunately, they were the only showcase at the university and so the likelihood of people going to an unfamiliar locale in an unfamiliar city in the dark of night probably placed many strikes against them.

They may have sensed this so they staged a portion of their piece in a field across the river from the convention center. They hooked up a guitar and keyboard to a speaker and went to town. The music caught the attention of pretty much everyone in the park and those of us sitting at the tables outside the convention center so they had quite an audience. The piece was visually very interesting, especially given their costuming and full body make up. What was particularly impressive was their skill and body control. They were playing on the side of a hill and doing all sorts of flips and acrobatics while on stilts all of which couldn’t have been easy.

I have to say in the interest of full disclosure that I didn’t end up seeing either of their showcases because of conflicts with ones I thought I would be more likely to book. One could argue then that their efforts were not successful, but on the other hand, they have earned potentially greater exposure to all those who read this entry. (And as I think about it, the stilt show in particular might be very interesting to do a few years down the road in one of my quads.)

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


1 thought on “Some Guerilla Marketing”

  1. I was just looking at where our name ended up on the web and came across your post about WAA. I thought I would feedback on that event. We had booked an independent showcase at Gonzaga because they could pay us, plus it is sometimes better to do a full show, where people feel the full scope of your power. Some people from WAA came, more artists than presenter, but having 300 students to give energy to the performance was priceless in taking the disaffected presenter syndrome out of the equation.

    The Guerilla marketing on the island across the river was a last minute effort to create some interest in us. It did work in terms of discussions at our booth and we got bookings at the Ford and Madrid Theatre in L.A. Plus a man from Ontario saw us and he may be helping me organize a summer tour there this summer.

    It was not as successful as I would have liked but I have found WAA to be a difficult egg to crack. In fact this year we chose not to go, it wasn’t a hard choice as we were invited to be in Costa Rica at the same time.

    Thanks for noting us.

    be well

    Jay Ruby


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