Fred again.. Tour Didn’t ‘Spend a Single Dollar on Marketing’: Mark Dodds

Fred again.. Tour Didn’t ‘Spend Single

The Australian live sector got a little insight into the genius that was the sold-out, surprise Fred again.. tour, during the Variety Australia and Twilio’s Live Business Breakfast this morning (June 13) in central Sydney.

Held this morning at 12-Micron, more than 100 leaders of the live industry were on hand as special awards were handed out, recognition for excellence in live entertainment.

The award for Best Live Event Marketing Campaign saw the Fred again.. tour up against Untitled Group’s Beyond the Valley festival, and Pearl Jam, which was produced by Live Nation.

When Handsome Tours’ managing director Mark Dodds took the stage to accept the award for the Fred again.. surprise arena tour, he said: “It’s actually quite a surprise in some ways to be winning this award. Partially because I feel like what moved the enormous amount of tickets on Fred again.. was Fred.”

He’s right. First, the British producer and electronic music artist announced a pop-up show at the iconic Sydney Opera House, which triggered a virtual stamped as more than 145,000 queued for fewer than 3,000 tickets. That was by some distance the biggest on-sale demand for the Concert Hall.

If that was fun, the campaign went to another level when Fred announced a “pop-up” arena tour. It had never been done at this scale, it might never be done again. But it was a raging success.

Mark Dodds accepting the award for Best Live Event Marketing Campaign at Variety Australia and Twilio’s inaugural Live Business Breakfast. Courtesy Jack Moran / Variety Australia Jack Moran

But as Dodds revealed onstage, the team behind it (Handsome Tours, Laneway Presents, TEG Live and Astral People) had even more to celebrate post-tour.

“It’s unusual to win a marketing award for a campaign where we can’t spend a dollar on advertising,” he said.

“For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Fred was a pretty untraditional campaign,” Dodds continued. “We had an artist basically approach us with a very specific value and the idea was that he wanted to land in the country, announce effectively an arena tour, and start it three days later, with the kicker that we weren’t allowed to spend a single dollar on marketing.”

The adventure shifted more than 200,000 tickets; an unprecedented, herculean result.

“It’s funny because I think if you asked my team that we did any marketing on Fred, a lot of them would have said that they didn’t,” said Dodds. “But the truth of the matter is that in a campaign like this, the events themselves became the marketing.

“It was obviously a very thrilling experience to work on something like that, but what effectively became the marketing campaign was the creativity that went into the events, the announce, the cascading series of surprises, the sense that no one knew when the tour would begin, when the tour would end, and effectively a change in our conceptions of what marketing a tour could be.

“So, yeah, as you can probably tell, I did not expect myself to receive an award. But I think it is a reminder that sometimes the best marketers are the ones who don’t even know that they are marketers.”

Head to Variety AU/NZ for the full list of winners for the inaugural Live Business Breakfast, presented by Variety Australia and Twilio.