Phish: Marketing Geniuses

Any marketer would kill – like Tilda Swinton in Michael Collins – kill for the brand loyalty enjoyed by Phish.

Tickets for the second leg of their Summer tour were, in a “limited number,” released by lottery. Now it seems that nearly everyone who entered the lottery got a big FAIL. To amuse yourself, go onto Twitter and search “phish.” You will see a long stream of borderline suicidal fans who will be blabbering to all their friends and followers about how they simply must get onto TicketMaster Sunday morning and GET SOME FUCKING TICKETS.

How did a band who sings about nothing (“David Bowie” being exhibit A), who energetically avoids anything of any substance at all, get to where they are? Is it simply some catchy chords? Trampolines? Is it that they don’t really say anything in concert, and that they offer no discernible world view, and so we can all project our hippy fantasies on them? At first it seemed like this once-a-Dead-cover-band was a substitute for deadheads after we lost Jerry, but now we see the kind of brand loyality that maybe only MAC, with their own uniquely culty fanatics, enjoys.

Marketing to hippies is always a good time. Witness that with Phish, when you try to get tickets, you are immediately invited to pre-order mp3 downloads of the show that you will (not) get tickets to. Witness the rhetoric of pathwork and tie-dye and veggie burritos and the biggest, phattest glass bowl. Witness the possession-based hierarchy (most bootlegs, most shows, most travelled to see more shows, and so on).

Jesus Christ himself would envy this kind of brand devotion.

Which is all to say, I want my fucking Shoreline tickets!!!


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