We ended the week with a nice kind of riot.
We took the kids to see Potted Potter at the Edinburgh Fringe.
CBBC’s Dan and Jeff summarised and parodied all seven Harry Potter books in seventy riotous minutes of clever humour, slapstick and audience participation.
For example the game of quidditch in which the audience took part off stage…
… and onstage. Dan can barely contain himself as the most precocious kid you have ever seen plays the part of the Gryffindor seeker in pursuit of the snitch (played by Jeff).
It turned out to be a social occasion as much as a piece of theatre.
And there are a couple of lessons that some brands could learn from the way that Messrs D & J instantly created and “managed” their audience community.
1) They were genuinely enjoying themselves. You could see that they were having a laugh. From where I was sitting what they were doing didn’t look like work. How many brands are operating in social channels because they feel they ought to rather than because they really want to?
2) They were brilliant improvisors. They seamlessly incorporated (sometimes precocious) audience responses into a fluid, off piste rendition of the script. We (the audience) weren’t “moderated” or “controlled”. We were encouraged, appreciated, and embraced. We were genuinely influential. A lot of brands could learn a thing or too from this optimistic, glass half full, reward-centric attitude to audience participation. There is a perhaps understandable tendency for brands to focus on risk management rather than the rewarding aspects of engaging with real people. To me that is social with the handbrake on.
Go see the show if you can.