Friday, August 12, 2005

Word of Mouth

In a bid to become a more productive member of society, I’ve been getting up earlier and heading into Manhattan to get stuff done. Of the many things I’ve discovered in the new world of pre-noon New York I believe my favorite is the guy in Union Square handing out copies of AM New York.

Every day while standing at the top of the stairs he hands out papers and he repeats an advertising slogan, and each day it’s different. Today it was “HSBC, your neighborhood bank.” Yesterday it was a restaurant, before that a Broadway play. He’s like Wesley Willis without the songs.

So I’ve begun to wonder, are his announcements part of his job as a newspaper distributor or is he freelancing? Does AM New York have some sort of oral advertising program or is he approached on the side by someone else? What are his rates? Can I hire him for a day to promote my show?

And then I think, why don’t I just sit at the top of the stairs handing out postcards and repeating my slogan, “The Comedy Pro Shop, professional comics in an intimate setting”?

Aside from the fear of running into a hated ex-roommate while being strategically positioned at the top of a flight of stairs, I remember that it looks much more pathetic when someone in a show is handing out flyers for said show. If Nathan Lane were in Union Square handing out flyers for a new show he’d instantly drop from being one of Broadway’s best bets to waiting tables at The Russian Tea Room.

Who knew word of mouth advertising could get so institutionalized? I guess I should stick to paying NYU freshman girls to tattoo my show info on their lower backs.

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