Last July, I took my mom to Bon Jovi for their first Toronto show at the Skydome (yes, I know it’s called the Rogers Centre now and I don’t care). This was the first live show Iâ€™d been to in years and I was struck by how deeply social media and visual technology have changed the concert experience.
As youâ€™d expect for a band with their long history, Bon Jovi is as savvy wholesale nfl jerseys as they come. They played 2.5 hours and the music sounded good â€” itâ€™s always amazing to me how many live acts donâ€™t.
As front man and heartthrob, Jon Bon Jovi did the bulk cheap jerseys of the chatting between sets. He tailored his comments to Toronto and the bandâ€™s long history with the city, and got the crowd to singing along to popular songs like â€œBad Medicineâ€ 3d or â€œDead or Alive.â€ When the cheering volume wasnâ€™t ear splitting, he grinned and baited the crowd until it improved.
Covering these basics is necessary when the global drop in CD sales means a bandâ€™s effectiveness as a live act dictates a lot of its revenue stream. If you want people to buy tickets ranging from $50 to $300 and shell out $50 for a T-shirt or hat, you better be pretty damn entertaining.
Whatâ€™s interesting about Bon Jovi is how natural they make their fan interactions feel. Jon’s an effective communicator who succeeds in conveying palpable delight and enthusiasm to his fans. And social media and technology are big tools in his arsenal.
Here are four things they did really well.
1. Use ticket sales as a vehicle to deliver preview and follow-up content
I bought my tickets through Ticketmaster and received appropriate email reminders for the show. After the concert, I was invited to join Bon Joviâ€™s online community and watch special videos and concerts from The Circle Tour at home. This idea really appealed to my mom and she would have followed up on it if she had a sound card (long story). I have bought Ticketmaster tickets for other events and never received follow-up offers on this scale and depth. The cheap jerseys NBA is the only outfit who comes close.
2. Use texts to introduce additional touch points for event attendees
Before the concert started, visual and audio ads were run offering fans the chance to text in for a promo code to receive a personal message from Jon on their cell phones. I canâ€™t talk about the content since my motherâ€™s antiquated Samsung cell phone makes texting a convoluted art. She was of very excited about the idea and I spent 15 minutes trying to make it work. Many people around us did send successful texts. I would imagine this drives database collection for future concert and other band-related promotions.
3. Visually augment the audio experience
Instead of the large video monitors Iâ€™ve seen in the past, Bon Jovi performs in front of an enormous digital video monitor shaped in a half circle that stretches the length and width of the stage. Layering visuals into music also augments the visual interest for fans sitting far away:
The screen shows enormous close-ups of the band members (a must when oggling your front man is a big reason your female fans will fill a venue as huge as the Skydome). In the shot above, we see a close-up of Jon and an inset image of Jon and guitarist Richie Sambora. You can see how tiny they appeared from our actual seats â€” the white spotlight below Jonâ€™s close-up shows their actual size.
The screenâ€™s dimensions and content constantly changed. During â€œWe Werenâ€™t Born To Follow,â€ it showed inspiring phrases and drawings of empowering public figures, picking up the visual treatment used in their video for the song.
For â€œBad Medicine,â€œ it showed silhouettes of women dancersâ€”a neat way to provide sexy content for a band that repeatedly stresses the importance of marriage and family in interviews and plays to an all-ages crowd.
4. Involve your audience â€” â€œLivinâ€™ on a Prayerâ€ fan video footage
Bon Jovi performed this classic as their third and final encore. During the choruses, the enormous half-circle digital screen divided into dozens of smaller screens all plays different clips of fans singing the same song.
The clips changed constantlyâ€”there were at least 300 and maybe 500 or more in rotation. Each clip was timed so the fanâ€™s mouth moved in synch with the band, giving the impression they were singing together. The shots were used strategically, with some bigger than others.
As youâ€™d expect, a larger clip of two women in Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys doing a two-step in a backyard got a huge crowd reaction.
Look at the way the sizing and proximity gives the band and their fans equal visual weighting. How would you feel if you were one of those women and present at this show? Iâ€™m guessing out of your mind with happiness.
Gathering material like that is a mountain of work. I donâ€™t want to think about the time and effort involved in:
- scouring youtube and other video sites for suitable fan videos or organizing contests to acquire fan submissions
- sorting by song and suitability
- editing the footage to fit the digital video screenâ€™s format
- synching the clips
- tailoring the clips to each particular concert location
Seriously, that is an enormous amount of work. Bon Jovi obviously thinks itâ€™s worth it. What can we deduce from that?
Bon Joviâ€™s Social Media Lessons
- We pay attention to what our audience does online.
- We value and welcome what theyâ€™re doing (are you listening, Metallica?)
- We want to connect with them on their terms.
- We publicly reward their contributions in a cool way.
- Our fans are awesome. We are doing exciting things together.
If I was one of the Bon Jovi faithful, I probably would have run home to record my own video in hopes of seeing it in at a concert. As it happens, I did mention it to a friend whose sister is a super-fan. And isnâ€™t that the kind of excitement, energy and engagement that the best communications and marketing should always inspire?
Post-Script: Further Proof That Bon Jovi Get Social Media
I just finished reading all of The Book of Business Awesome, wherein Scott Stratten recounts the Jon Bon Jovi Twitter death hoax that happened back in December 2011.
Read the chapter if you want the details, but to me it was further proof that Bon Jovi understand social media and know how to use it appropriately.