By Jim McCarthy Apr 16, 2010 1 comment

A Sterling Idea

So last Saturday, I was in Boston to award the 2009 Goldstar National Nutcracker Award to the Boston Ballet. Yes, it was a bit of a lovefest: they really appreciated the recognition and gave us a very warm welcome. (I’ll post a video later of the presentation of the statue.)

While there, I noticed this. (The picture’s not great.)

It's a charm bracelet, and the charms are the shows in the current season.

It's a charm bracelet, and the charms are the shows in the current season.

So you buy the bracelet, which is a nice silver charm bracelet, and then you buy the charm for each production:  Giselle, World Passions, The Nutcracker (hey, the charm looks like the Nutty), Coppellia, etc.

I have no idea how these are selling, but I love the thinking behind it.  There’s a little bit of revenue to be made here, but I don’t think that’s the point.  The point, I am guessing, is to give people a way to connect to the material.  It’s no different in a way than a concert t-shirt, except that you’ve got something each time you come to the ballet.

It reminds me in another way of the virtual goods phenomenon in the online world, where you collect badges on foursquare, awards for good rounds on World Golf Tour, or get the OMG hat on Gaia.

What I think is important about this is that from a marketing point of view, Boston Ballet is telling people that they’re worth following; worth making a habit, and that each show is a special production, worth memorializing with a piece of jewelry.

This idea could be adapted in so many different ways to great effect.  It’s the kind of thing that sounds silly but only if you don’t give any credence to the emotional component of the entertainment experience, which obviously every entertainment marketer should.

Kudos, Boston Ballet.  If you’re reading this, let us know whatever you’d like about this program, and I’ll pass it along.

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