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IVFDF - Sally's Journal
April 5th, 2005
09:42 am

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IVFDF
A gratuitous plug...

There's going to be a real post today, I promise. But I'm too busy typing up IVFDF publcity committee minutes. So I thought I'd ask my wise readers a few questions...

You see, I don't believe in publicity. I've never picked up a flyer and gone to something I wouldn't otherwise have gone to. I've decided I wanted to go to things, and then not gone because I couldn't find a flyer with a form for tickets etc, but that's different. Maybe it's because I'm shy ;-) I don't understand advertising. And through a large faff of people moving house and noone else wanting to do the job, I'm in charge of a publicity committee, of all things. I need all the help I can get on how to do this, so please, if you've ever danced and enjoyed it, or have any opinions on how to advertise to people, please read the rest of this...



Anyway, IVFDF 2006 is going to rock. Ceilidhs in the english, american, scottish, and playford style for a dance till you drop weekend of sheer joy. The committee is full of really keen and really organised people (and some people are even both). The venue is better than last years, and on a fair par with exeter, except the sleeping arrangements are likely to be much better. We have some really really exciting bands booked, covering a whole range of different dances. There will be lots of stuff going on, and a whole range of workshops, from "really folky stuff" like maypole and morris, through interesting stuff like medieval dance and appalacian, to hopefully some broader workshops too.

And my friends list is full of people who love dance... CDC people, people who have decided that they want to spend time on their wedding day in a ceilidh... You're a very good sample of my target audience (cackles malevolently) Seriously, it would be great to see loads and loads of you at IVFDF. You'll have great fun. If you come with lots of people you know you're guarenteed to have a great time, as the bands are splended, and even if you brave it and come on your own there are so many nice people who go you'll have a great time anyway.

But very few of you target people (looks at you all with a mad grin) are actually planning to go to IVFDF. At least, you've never planned to go to an IVFDF before. What would make this year different to you? I'm assuming it isn't going to be a half page advertisement in the Cambridge Evening News or a mention in the Chippenham program, which is where our publicity plan is at the moment. But what would do it?

Two sorts of answers appreciated - the "well, I might come this year not having come before because I know *you*, Sally" will make me big headed (bad point), but cheer me up with the fact that we might sell some tickets and fill IVFDF full of wonderful friends of mine (good point). When I'll be too busy being in charge to see them :-) I do wonder if word of mouth advertising is the only successful form.

Alternatively, if you could pretend you *didn't* know me, (or that I was nothing to do with IVFDF) and explain how a complete stranger could persuade you to go to IVFDF that would be very very helpful too. Or explain if there are key people I should persuade to persuade you-that-doesn't-know-me to go to IVFDF...



Alternatively, if you're into some really cool form of dance, like, err, breakdancing (looks at noone in particular, although I'm not even sure if she still reads this LJ) or ballroom or anything else, would you be at all interested in running a workshop? We're fairly impoverished students, but if you would be keen now is the time to discuss it.

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From:nlj21
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:24 am (UTC)
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Could be interested. I think the main thing I'd want from publicity is to know where/when it is?!?
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From:atreic
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:26 am (UTC)
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Lots and lots of information is on the website but it's next February, the weekend 24th - 26th, at Netherhall School, off Queen Ediths Way.
From:nlj21
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:32 am (UTC)
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Ah, it's in Cambridge. That massively increases the possibility of being interested. But it's in 2006 so I am very unlikely to be able to think that far ahead at this stage!

I'd have thought if you spoke to next years CDC exec you might be able to arrange something with them to publicise to CDCers. (Possibly doing a folk dance thing at Children In Need where you could plug it?)
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From:atreic
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:38 am (UTC)
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That's a good idea. When does the exec get voted in, and when is Children in Need?
From:nlj21
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:42 am (UTC)
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New exec come in at the AGM, which will be sometime at the start of May. Children in Need, I think, is sometime mid-November.
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From:lisekit
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:51 am (UTC)
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Children in Need, I think, is sometime mid-November.

BBC Children in Need will take place in November, as always. CDC CiN will require somebody to organise it; it isn't the job of VP Events (although Shell was, out of the goodness of her own heart, kind enough to help last year).

I am currently unable to advocate the running of a CiN event that is anything to do with CDC in 2005, due to massive apathy on the part of CDC exec (Shell excluded). The event that ran in 2004 was, to all intents and purposes, largely run by my mates as a favour to me; I was immensely grateful to those mates, and also to the CDC figures who assisted with cash collection on the day, but it was made clear to me that CDC in general had no interest in the event.

Even if I were due to be around in November, I wouldn't run another event for CiN, and I would strongly advise anyone interested in taking over not to proceed without the full backing and assistance of CDC committee.
From:nlj21
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:26 am (UTC)
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Ah, what is the word with blue underlining I see....I wonder what happens if I click on it....ah, it answers all my questions!

(...Nick feels slightly stupid...)
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From:lisekit
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:46 am (UTC)
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if you're into some really cool form of dance, like, err, breakdancing

I'm still a regular reader, if you mean me! I can probably fix you up with workshops in Hiphop Contemporary, Breakin' - let me know more details of the event.
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From:lisekit
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:52 am (UTC)
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Also Indian and Egyptian, if that tickles your fancy.
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From:the_alchemist
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:48 am (UTC)
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I think you're being a bit naive about advertising - surely much of its effect is subconscious? Anyway - since I don't read Varsity much, I generally find out what's going on from posters and flyers and so they do have an effect on me.

I'm not a dancey person as a rule, but I'm interested in period dance - medieval, renaissance and perhaps later stuff, so I might be temptable into that. So to attract people like me, you'd need to include a list of the specialist workshops and things that will be available, and make it clear that you can go to individual events without paying for the whole weekend. (But knowing you also makes it more likely I'll go!)
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:April 5th, 2005 09:56 am (UTC)
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I've never thought "Wow, I must go to that, their flyer is so cool!" but I have thought "Hey, that's a good idea, I'll go!" and "Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about that, I'll go." and probably been subconsciously influeneced by *lots* of advertising.

On that basis you want flyers to:

Make it easy for people: have date, and perhaps a reasonable booking date metntioned, and perhaps in terms of terms as well as calendar. Good contact info.

Make it encouraging for people who might have a slight interest but don't really know: mention how good you need to be or don't need to be, don't need a partner, conveniently in cam, etc.

Reach people, look for related societies and make pitches, etc.

People like me, who know, and will hopefully get round to it, (and I *will*) are probably fairly uninfluentialable, unfortunately. And making the flyer look cool in some way is probably worth it for the remembering it value.

Sorry, that probably wasn't so helpful, but I thought it best to share what I did think, as every little can help.
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From:mair_aw
Date:April 5th, 2005 10:48 am (UTC)
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I've passed noticeboards, seen a notice, noted the date, and gone to stuff.I mean, how do you know if you want to go to the thing without the flyer or *something* to let you know it exists?

I never take any notice of the things that get shoved into your hand as you're walking down the street, though. they annoy me.
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From:bluap
Date:April 5th, 2005 10:53 am (UTC)
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In terms of publicity, I would agree that it's pretty useless in persuading people to do something. However, publicity is necessary is raising people's awareness that the event is happening.

The CDC aims to ensure that every fresher sees our publicity at least three times in their first week in Cambridge: once in their pigeonhole; one at Societies' Fair, and once as a random leaflet thrown away in a bin. This makes them aware that
1) There's a ballroom dancing society in Cambridge
2) Lots of people dance
3) It's not as "uncool" as you might think
They'll then forget about the club, but there'll be occasional reminders of our existence (e.g. flyers once per term).
However, none of this is likely to persuade them to join. Almost invariably, they'll meet someone who is already a member, or has decided that they would like to learn - it's word of mouth that persuades people to actually go along.
From:nlj21
Date:April 5th, 2005 11:10 am (UTC)
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Having the BBC do a prime-time TV program about ballroom dancing is also helpful....

I'm not too sure that it is all word of mouth. If that was the case why do we get so many first years joining at the start of the year? I'm thinking they won't have been round long enough for word of mouth to reach them...
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From:lisekit
Date:April 5th, 2005 11:13 am (UTC)
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However, none of this is likely to persuade them to join.

I dunno about that - I think there are people who see flyers and say "Ooh, Salsa, I wanted to do a bit of that", or (to give a related example) "Ooh, Contemporary, fancy giving that a go". Word-of-mouth of course persuades people that it's fun, and people will often come along with friends - especially to partner classes - but there are a lot of people in the first classes of each term who turn up because they've read something and it sounded cool. I would say this is especially the case for my classes.
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From:lisekit
Date:April 5th, 2005 11:15 am (UTC)
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Slightly different example, but I think show publicity (which might have more in common with event publicity than publicity for regular classes does) markedly increases audiences. A great difference in audience numbers is demonstrable between shows that are publicised with flyers and press coverage and those that aren't, or are less so. For Fringe events, there's a difference days when you do or don't go flyering, and do or don't get press.
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From:satanicsocks
Date:April 5th, 2005 05:29 pm (UTC)
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As a long-serving show publicist I totally agree. Publicising Trinity May Ball, on the other hand (where I started my publicity endeavours), is almost not worth doing at all for the difference it makes to ticket numbers ;)
From:feanelwa
Date:April 5th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
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I think it would be good if you edited your post to mention what IVFDF stands for.

It does sound fun. I will think about it, and probably have a "oh no moving in front of people bad" moment and not go, but there's a 10% probability that if I get my arse in gear I will go.
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From:naath
Date:April 5th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC)
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I think that the most likely thing to make people part with money is that there is an especially interesting workshop, so you sort of need to list everything that there will be, stress that you don't need to know anything for beginners but that if you know everything then there will be advanced classes that aren't going to be working at a basic level, that you don't need a partner and that people will happily dance with you.

What is making me come is the fact that it is in Cambridge so I can get to it easily, people who aren't in Cambridge will want to know how to get to it and if it's easy to do so and about getting arround, getting food etc. whilst here. People are likely to also want the time of the last bus into town if they are not staying on site.

Flyers generally suck though. I don't think a flyer has ever made me want to do something. However a lot of people seem to care about the pictures more than the words... so maybe make it pretty with the website details on it for more info.
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From:spidrak
Date:April 5th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
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The folky dance things definately sound interesting, and ballroom's something I've Never Got Around To Trying, so I might well see if I can get across for it.

Advertising-wise, I think that you really need to show whatever you produce to a random who has no idea about dancing and ask them what they think is on offer. My experience of such things is that it's very easy to assume that your target audience have more clue about what's involved than you might expect.

Emphasising lack of barriers to participation is A Good Thing, but it's possibly wise to mention something about fitness levels as well - for cavers, we generally say if you can run up a few flights of stairs without difficulty, you'll be alright. I don't know how fit/flexible dancers need to be, and it's one of the things I'd want to know before turning up to a session.
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