Tag Archives: Katie

Kiss My Bootycandy: Tales of a Marketing Strategy Gone Oh-So-Right

When the Marketing Department at Woolly all sat down and started brainstorming how to get exposure for Bootycandy, we may not have known about the butt lollipops in our future, but we did know that we needed to reach out to one community in particular: the gay community. Those of you who’ve seen it, you know what our line of thinking was. It’s a play about labels and identity, and how you combat the labels thrust upon you by society. Plus, many of the characters happen to be gay, so it’s a natural fit. That’s when we became a community partner for Capital Pride. From a marketing standpoint, it made total sense: discounted ad space, reaching out to a group that our show was perfect for, all that jazz. Plus, it was a great way to hand out all those goodies I was telling you about in my last blog.

Last week, Box Office Manager Timmy Metzner and I ran around to prepare for Pride. He would be running the parade troupe, while I would be running our “Kissing Booth” (lovingly crafted by Master Carpenter Joel Garcia) at the Pride Festival the following day. And despite the fact that we were barely ready, it came. Our hour had arrived:

When I got to Woolly early Sunday morning to meet coworkers for the Festival, I had no idea what to expect. I had heard tons of things about Pride and how awesome it was from friends and family, but I had always been out of town or too busy or whatever BS things life throws at you to ever attend myself. Now I can say I have been, and let me tell you, any place that lets you do this

…is okay by me.

In all seriousness, Pride was fantastic. We talked to people about the show, the butt lollipops went like…well, butt lollipops, and the kissing booth was a smashing success.

But the best part of Pride really wasn’t the simple success of a marketing strategy. Throughout this entire campaign, we noticed a difference in the community we were reaching out to: people actively came and spoke to us, offered to support us, wanted to help and do anything for us. Sitting at the booth during Pride, all of that sense of community came in floods. People were curious, came up to us and talked to us. They wished us luck. Many of them had already seen Bootycandy and wanted to share their thoughts, their reactions, things they felt were powerful, things they weren’t sure about. We had more feedback, emotion, and passion in those four and a half hours then I’ve seen throughout the entire run (and this is a show people TALK about, let me tell you).

And so, being a community partner for Capital Pride turned out to be one of the smartest things we have ever done. Not for the discounts or the advertising placement, but for the chance to reach out to the audience and the freedom to converse with them in a way that we could never do simply online; for the free hugs, the sense of support, and of course, the thousands of kinds of love.

~ Katie Boyles, Marketing and Communications Assistant


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Filed under Bootycandy, Marketing

You Want Me to Do WHAT?

When you work at a place named after a large, prehistoric, and rather fluffy animal, you probably assume that you will not have the typical office experience. When it’s a theatre known for “defying convention” and the theme of the season is “A Striptease of Your Subconscious” you can definitely assume that some of the experiences you will have are ones that you wouldn’t have in most workplaces. And largely, you are right. You can wear jeans. You can say “fuck” (and many do, on a regular basis!). You can have a beer or two in the kitchen with your coworkers…though try and do it at a reasonable hour. All of these things I figured out pretty quickly when I started at Woolly almost a year ago. Still, there were the surprises, and since my time at Woolly is drawing to a close and we are preparing for my last show here, Bootycandy, I’m going to take you all on a trip down memory lane. So here you go, a list of some of the most ridiculous things I’ve been asked to do as the Marketing and Communications Assistant here at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Well, the ones they’d let me put in writing, anyway. YOU’RE WELCOME, WORLD.

“Hey Katie, there’s a vibrator downstairs. Go find it and bring me photos.”

Alright. So most of you know that the opening show this season was IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play, so this first one probably isn’t that shocking. However, please keep in mind that this is one of the first things I was ever asked to do at Woolly. Not “hey lady, can you grab me some coffee?” or “I need you to fax this.” GO STALK A VIBRATOR AND TAKE PHOTOS. Oh, and I believe the phrase “be sure you get some really good angles” was used. There is a lot of specific and scientific thinking about vibrators to understand what a “good angle” for a vibrator shot is, and I’d like you to imagine a small, innocent, bright-eyed Katie trying to figure that one out in her first week. And enjoy.

Oh well. At least I didn’t have to do what Max did.

“Why don’t we get Katie to dress up like a child pageant star and wander around the streets of DC?”

This one didn’t actually happen. However, it was thrown out as a possibility during a grassroots marketing brainstorm for House of Gold, and let me explain to you how these types of ideas are presented. At Woolly are you not ASKED to do these things. You are told, “Prepare yourself, this might happen.” Probably for the best, I did not end up putting on that frilly pink dress that those of you who saw the show are familiar with, but it was a very real possibility for a while. And that is terrifying.

“Sorry, I had to go throw fake Jell-o spleens.”

That is a direct quote from a G-chat that I was having with a friend one day. And not only did I have to go throw fake Jell-o spleens, I had to make them. Do you know how to make fake Jell-o spleens? Let’s just say it involves melted gummy worms, ruined spoons, and a specific smell in the office kitchen afterwards. However, I did it for our holiday video (which if you haven’t seen, you need to check out here. Watch it. Otherwise my efforts and our Business Manager allowing us to throw fake Jell-o spleens at her head for about 15 takes so Max could get “the right look” was for naught.

“Alright, I order everyone to send Katie ‘your mom’ jokes.”

That was a direct order from Jeff Herrmann, our Managing Director at an ALL STAFF MEETING. That’s right. This was part of a Social Media campaign that I came up with for Oedipus el Rey which entailed tweeting “your mom” jokes in a contest to win tickets to the show. This started out as a joke I made when we were brainstorming one day, but like many of the jokes I make, it became a real Marketing plan that I was asked to put together. And so I did. I put together a social media marketing strategy plan based on “your mom” jokes.

“Katie, I need you to find a way for us to make customized condoms. Also, I want butt lollipops.”

Have you ever googled “butt lollipop?” Don’t. Just ask me where to find them. Seriously.

“Katie, just be sure you don’t get arrested. Actually…can you get arrested?”

No, I did not actually get arrested, nor did I try to. However, I did have a ton of fun walking around with Brooke Miller, our Press and Digital Content Manager and Woolly friend Seena Hodges and asking people on U Street what they thought “Bootycandy” was. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you obviously aren’t following our Facebook  and need to check out this hilarious series of videos here. Shamless self promotion WHAT UP.

Thanks for coming along on my little journey everyone. Yes, there are tons more things I could tell you, but I think a little mystery is good in a relationship so we will leave it at that. However, I will tell you that working at Woolly has been unlike anything I have ever experienced before, and will probably be unlike anything I will ever experience again. The family here at Woolly is so unique and so strong, and I will be very sad when my time is done.

But don’t worry. I still have a little over a month, so it’s still possible they’ll get me arrested.

~ Katie Boyles, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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Filed under Bootycandy, House of Gold, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, Marketing

Of Love and Social Media

Last fall I watched as my mentor Alli Houseworth, Director of Marketing and Communications made a bet with Tim Plant, former Director of Development that she could raise $1,937 (the number of Facebook fans we had) in a mere week and a half using social media alone (Click here to read about it). There were doubts. Who knows what social media sites are really good for, aside from a distraction at work, stalking your kids, or posting hilarious photos of kittens on the walls of those friends from college you probably wouldn’t remember in five years anyway (well, it WAS college). As many of you know, she won that bet. In fact, she demolished that bet, and Tim was forced to admit that social media was useful for more than the aforementioned things via a rather embarrassing curtain speech in which he wore a shirt declaring his love for social media, and of course, we made him join Twitter.

Since that fateful day, we have become vociferous in our thirst to know what else social media can do for us. We’ve discovered non-subscribers who have been faithful for years, we’ve found fans from around the country, we’ve had contests, we’ve…demanded a lot of attention. For our current show, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, we’ve even managed to construct an “Apple Orchard” in the lower lobby that consists of old Apple products collected in part by a response to a call-to-action we put on our Facebook and Twitter pages. So why do those of you who don’t buy into the whole social media care about all this? Because throughout it all, no matter how you spin it, our social media efforts come down to one, basic, pure thing: a conversation with our audience. Woolly isn’t satisfied just putting work out there that we find explosive, engaging, and thought-provoking, we’ve moved on from just that. We want, we NEED to know what YOU are thinking, and how you feel about our work. So, as a dedication to all of you, here are some responses we’ve received from the show via Twitter and Facebook:

–          @david_fabian: SM movies make u want to smoke a cigarette. Mike Daisey’s Agony & the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs made me want to use an iPad @woollymammothtc

–          @delitzer: Won’t ever look at my iPhone the same way again. RT @BeccaClaraLove: “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” at @woollymammothtc. So good!

–          @LinsdaySWeldon: I’m not even a tech geek, but The Agony & Ecstasy of Steve Jobs @woollymammothtc is still one of the BEST shows I’ve ever seen.

–          @actorkathryn: @woollymammothtc – The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs = AMAZING. Great work, Team Woolly…

–          @joeyonan: Woke up still ruminating on last night’s #AgonyandEcstasyofSteveJobs. Stunning, hilarious, profound theater. @woollymammothtc

–          Sarah Fox Chapman: Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” was outstanding. It was humorous and sad and thought provoking.

–          Mary Akiyama Guarino Kearns: Mike Daisey’s performance last night was outstanding. I’ve been an Apple fan my entire life, but haven’t bought any new technology since the FoxConn suicides were publicized. However, Daisey’s monologue brought new depth to my understanding of the problems inherent in the way our tech products are manufactured, and gave me much food for thought regarding what I can do to help change things for the better.

If you’d like to join in the conversation (and we want you to!) but don’t necessarily Facebook or Tweet, please send us an email at discussion@woollymammoth.net. After all, we Woolly-ites need your input to prevent extinction!

~Katie Boyles, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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Filed under Marketing, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs