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Three Flyers Outside Paris, London and LA - Keep It Simple 

A few weeks ago I got a message from someone in distress. Allison, the founder and manager of the Satin Dollz whom we have worked and performed with, in LA for 10 years and more recently in Paris and London was in a pickle. The Paris group were about to do a showcase and the promo flyer that was presented to Allison was this... As you can see, it is less than satisfactory for a number of reasons: The colour schemes, the random fonts, the placement and size of the text, the bad (blocky) extraction of the images (where the photos have been cut out of other backgrounds), the placement of the main subjects, the odd fade out, etc etc etc. With only a few days before the showcase and having to get them printed, she had a problem.

So, I was in the middle of a US tour and we had a pretty busy schedule. I didn't have a lot of time and had to think up something simple yet effective that would communicate who and what they are. I don't really do graphic design jobs for anyone else anyway as we are so busy but I like to help out friends when and where I can so I stayed up late for a couple of nights and threw together a flyer for her.

Ultimately, apart from showcasing the talents and image of the Satin Dollz, I wanted to create some classy because apart from being great singers, dancers and tappers (and all being stunning) they are a class act. The current flyer did NOT communicate this in any way and almost went out of its way to say the opposite.

Here is the flyer I came up with for the Paris Dollz:

She was very happy with it and they printed and used it the next week at their showcase.

The only thing that changed from the above was that I replaced the custom logo for their standard one to keep in with their other branding:

Then I got the next call... "Ooh, wouldn't it be nice to have matching ones for the London and LA Dollz too!". Yes. Yes, it would...

Since it was a simple design and I find that half the battle is coming up with the idea and the placement of things. Sometimes I have spent a couple of hours on a flyer, had a crash and lost all my work but it has then only taken 20 minutes or so to recreate what I had done as all the "think" work and trial and error was not wasted. Anyway, that's an aside. Here are the other two flyers:

Los Angeles


Yes, I even snuck in a cheeky plug for The Jive Aces on those ones too (Shut up, it's my job! ???).

I like the versions with their logo but for this design, I prefer my logo as it is very clean lines and adds to the simplicity but overall it was better to go with their own logo for general branding purposes to integrate with their other promo.

The main lesson from this is that if you are short of time, you don't have to settle for something crap. Just keep it simple and add only things that integrate to your message, style and design aesthetic and get rid of the stuff that doesn't.

Hope this helps. Leave me any questions in the comments below.

Cheers, Alex

The Curtain Never Comes Down 

Being in a band that travels so much together you definitely get a sense that, as the great Count Basie once allegedly said "The curtain never comes down". A group of people travelling together who you not only play the music but love classic styles from the 40s and 50s and wear vintage or vintage style clothes every day and are also often carrying instruments and related gear, you tend to stand out from the average commuter and get some attention. This makes us a walking ad for ourselves whether we like it or not which is a great opportunity.

A couple of years Mike from The Seamstress of Bloomsbury approached us and pitched making some American style baseball jackets (aka letterman or college jackets). At first, we thought "Great!". Then we thought it might be a bit cheesy with seven or eight of us walking around with our own logo emblazoned across our backs and fronts. then we tried it...

Since then these jackets have become one of the best advertising tools we have ever accidentally happened upon. One thing we realised is that the authentic styles from the 40s and 50s are timeless and classic. Most clothes from other decades, if you were to walk around head to toe in, look silly or clownish or like you were "in costume" from a play or wearing for some kind of ironic effect. Even recent eras like the 60s and 70s don't have the same universal appeal as pegged pants and a gabardine shirt with two-toned crepe soled suede shoes.

We hand out more business cards in airports than anywhere else when wearing these on tour. Also, the number who come up to us and tell us they love our "Bring Me Sunshine" or other videos has increased tenfold. They probably wouldn't recognise our individual faces but the names and flash of yellow seems to sink in. between that and our yellow suits we accidentally hit upon some corporate branding (even though we aren't a corporation!).

So my point is not that you have to literally have a neon sign stuck to your head with an arrow but if you already stand out (in a good way) then you may as well utilise it towards channeling interest towards what you do!

Apart from that, they also became a great bit of merchandise too (which are available in our store, ahem. #ShamelessPlug)

Hope this is a bit of food for thought.

Cheers, Alex

Facebook Event Invite Woes 

Facebook has been making it harder and harder to reach people through your Page and Events recently, basically because they want you to pay more.

Sometimes you get ridiculous restrictions when inviting people and even get threatened or hit with temporary banning for inviting people to your event even though Facebook has, in the very previous screen told you to invite people to your event and made a special button to do that and even despite the fact that these people have signed up to your band page presumably because they like your band and want info such as things like, when and where you are playing. I know, logic, right!?

One thing you can do to circumvent this and get the most invites possible to let people know about your gig is to "trick" Facebook into thinking you live in that town.

To do this, press the "Edit Profile" button on your profile's homepage. You'll see it on the bottom left of your big banner/header image










Then scroll down to your locations.







Then change your "Current City" in your settings to the city of your show. Sneaky, right?!?!








Then go to your event and choose the "invite friends" button.















On the left of the pop-up box, it has a group where it shows you people in your "home" town. Click that and then wait a few seconds and then hit "invite all".

















Then go through the list on the left-hand side and invite all people from any event or group that is nearby. It is best to fill your invites with the most relevant people though as Facebook seems to restrict your reach if people don't respond (e.g. don't invite friends in Timbuctoo to a gig in Brussels).

If you want to go deeper (and I recommend you utilize every invite Facebook will give you) then open up a second browser window and pull up your friend list. Then choose "current city" and you can manually search in the invite box for those friends in case any were missed (sometimes they are). This takes a bit longer though but is worth it as the auto search function above does tend to miss a few.

As you only get a limited number of invites per profile to an event, be sure to do this from all band members accounts but make sure you make them admins of the band page first. you should get 500 per person as opposed to only 50 if you are a regular punter inviting people to an event.

Hope this helps fill your gigs!

Cheers, Alex