“Flash Deals” – Forget Discounts, We have Free Last-minute Tickets for Live Performance

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Chicago-Performance.com works with theatres to fill seats within hours of the curtain call.

Chicago Performance (http://Chicago-performance.com), the theater portion of the online arts and culture network called The Chicago Art Machine, has designed a new advertising format that takes the Groupon discount model of promotion to the next level.

“We want to build a new audience for live theatre by offering free tickets, and get a new generation hooked on live performance,” explains Kathryn Born, founder of the franchise. “The problem now is that the discount deal space is saturated, people are receiving up to five or six of these deals everyday. So if we want to fill seats, even tickets to more expensive venues have to be free."

The free tickets are also used for local independent film screenings. The key to success is mobilizing their large followings on Twitter, Facebook, and local media aggregators. In the age of instant media, they are able to fill seats within a day, or even hours before a performance.

A highly successful example of this free ticket giveaway was the premier of the film "Black Swan". Sixteen free tickets were available for an industry screening. Within five minutes all tickets were gone and the film portion of the network broke all traffic records since its launch. The result was the viral effect of social media marketing.

The Current Free Ticket Giveaway:
The current deal on Chicago-Performance.com is two free tickets for Harris Theater’s Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero on February 4, 2011 (http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/calendar/performance?id=2758&mos=7). Chicago-Performance.com will collect emails from the visitors, who, in turn, are required to hit the “like” button on the Harris fan page on Facebook. A random winner will be chosen. The ticket values for the Harris event are in the range of $80 to $150.

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Kathryn Born
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