Whacked Out Promotion Ideas that ACTUALLY Get People Out to Your Shows

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A couple of nights ago, an brave soul by the name of “Mastertone” posed a question on Reddit asking other musicians to share their wackiest promotion techniques.

In less than 24 hours, the thread garnered over 90 comments from musicians talking about the strangely successful things they’ve done to promote their gigs. Others complained that these “promo techniques” are cheap gimmicks. This is why I am fascinated by Reddit. The community there is rock solid, even rabid at times. When Reddit users find something interesting, controversial, or cool, it spreads quicker than an STD in a strip club.

I read through all the responses, and below I’ve included the original post along with my favorite responses:

Mastertone wrote:

So I want to get other people’s successful ideas for promoting shows. I’ll give two that worked for us. Post more of your own so we can all steal from each other.

  1. Snuggies. I know, I know…it sounds stupid. People freaked out about it though and word spread like wildfire. “They’re giving away 2 snuggies at the show with their logo on it!”. It was so lame that people loved it.
  2. Free Breakfast. This was an all day festival that we made a good chunk of money off tix sold through an online link. We found a caterer that wanted to promote their business (and help us out). I set it up so that if people texted a certain (google voice) number after buying tix from our link , they would get on the list for a delicious omelet, potatoes and coffee. We got most of the actual food donated and filled 100 slots (probably sold 75 tix with 25 freinds/fam).

Astrixtc wrote:

I had a friend that passed out some unique flyers. In the dark club, he was handing out little baggies with an undetermined powdery looking substance, and told everyone to keep it on the down low. Once you got it into the light, you realized it was a bunch of glitter and little stars that had a slip of paper in there with a web address on it. The website had all of the event info. This was probably the only flyer i’ve ever seen that everyone took home and didn’t end up on the ground.

borez wrote:

The best one I’ve ever seen was a band called Altern8 who were a UK rave act in the early 90′s. Instead of getting the public to come to their shows, they’d take their shows to the public by turning up at large raves in the UK on a flatbed truck with a soundsystem and doing gigs as everyone was going home i.e. A ready made audience of sometimes 20-30,000 people.

ninjaspy123 wrote:

We are having a beer pong tournament before and after our set and also after we play it’s open stage to allow other people to get up and jam. It’s working so far.

xerxes333 wrote:

There’s a group in town who hands out bright neon glow-in-the-dark sunglasses by the truckload. They’ve now become a symbol of the “indie”/party scene in the city. Everyone wants these sunglasses.

Have you done anything wacky to get fans off their lazy asses to come see you perform? Or are these nothing but cheap gimmicks? I’d love to hear your thoughts.