You Can’t Always Get What You Want

October 22, 2012

By Bill Duggan

The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50th anniversary with two concerts each in London and at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ (right outside NYC).

I’m a big fan – I first saw them in 1978 during the Some Girls tour and last saw them in 2005 when Clear Channel Radio treated attendees of the ANA Agency Relations Forum to a concert at the old Giants Stadium.

I missed the Facebook Fan pre-sale for the Prudential Center shows but then set my eyes on the American Express pre-sale (“to be eligible for this pre-sale use an Amex card to pay”) which began at noon on October 20th.  And I logged on promptly at 12 noon.  I expected the site to be busy and overcrowded but I got through and was now in a position to buy tickets.  This pre-sale offered Exclusive VIP Packages … “Choose from 5 exclusive VIP packages that could include premium reserved seating or general admission ticket, pre-show buffet dinner, exclusive merchandise item, VIP entrance, official tour program, collectible laminate and more!” 

I was ready to buy, until I found out that the top-of –the line “Gold VIP Package” was $2450 per ticket while the most frugal choice, the “Bronze Hot Seat Package”, was $950 per ticket.  Yikes!!

I applaud the Rolling Stones for being such terrific marketers and their current partnerships with Facebook and American Express are just their latest marketing alliances.  The Stones were one of the first rock bands (perhaps the first) with a corporate sponsor.  Jovan Musk paid one million dollars to sponsor their 1981 American tour.

Earlier this month I attended the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference where there was lots of talk from leading marketers about the intersection of marketing and social responsibility.  I have to think that there is an opportunity for the Rolling Stones to leverage their 50th anniversary tour for some greater good.  They all have millions in the bank and don’t need to charge exorbitant ticket prices to cover their living expenses.  But if there was a tie-in to a social/charitable cause, it just might make some of us feel a little better.





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