Peekapalooza: CTA teasers build up summer concert hype
Published: Friday, April 6, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
People throughout the country have grown accustomed to seeing commercials or groups of strangers in streets performing in flash mobs. But what about flash ads?
Commuters on the CTA were exposed to ads showcased on flat screen televisions on train platforms throughout Chicago, March 27. The advertisements included lyrics or song names by well-known acts that are now thought to be performing at Lollapalooza, Aug. 3-5 in Grant Park.
“I was getting on the Red Line at Addison when I got a text from a friend,” said Bryn Rich, a Lollapalooza enthusiast. “He said people were tweeting about them but no one had taken a picture yet. I hung around for a little while and saw the Justice ‘Do the D.A.N.CE.’ ad pop up, so I snapped a picture of it.”
After being passed around on Twitter and other social media outlets, Rich’s photo was nearing 5,000 views as of April 4.
In the past few years, Lollapalooza has tried to stir up some interest a month or so before the entire lineup is announced in mid-April. They use guessing games or interactive activities with their fans. This year they went with ads on the CTA to give a taste of what is to come when the entire lineup is announced April 11.
“This is [Lollapalooza’s] way of pre-empting media leaks that have occurred in past years,” said Greg Kot, music critic at the Chicago Tribune.
For people like Rich and Anthony Casanova, 26, an assistant editor in Chicago, finding out the acts in advance is like gold.
“I have been watching the boards/websites/Twitter/Lolla rumor pages for months now, so I knew there were people out there who would want these pictures as proof,” said Casanova. “I hadn’t seen [the ads] anywhere on the Internet that morning, just heard rumors, so I snapped [pictures].”
Confirmed acts include The Weeknd, Bloc Party, Die Antwoord, Justice, The Big Pink and Jack White.
Along with the ads on the CTA, other ads were popping up on websites such as do312.com, a site that lists ideas of what to do in Chicago. Do312 also has a shortcut on the main Lollapalooza webpage right next to the festival’s Twitter and Facebook shortcuts.
Kot said social media such as Twitter and Facebook have become instrumental in the success of individual acts’ success.
“[Using social media] is a huge bonus for artists in communicating about their music direct to fans,” said Kot. “The fans essentially become distributors and PR agents for bands.”
The ads seen by Rich, Casanova and many others on CTA platforms begged to be shared on social media, especially Twitter, as the only element other than the lyrics of the act it was announcing was the hashtag – #LOLLA.
Arguably the biggest act suggested to be coming to Lollapalooza is Jack White. Casanova said that “I Won’t Let Love Disprupt, Corrupt, or Interrupt Me,” a lyric from White’s song, “Love Interruption,” was one of the four he saw while at the Fullerton and Belmont stops that house Red, Brown and Purple line trains.
“Funny thing is, ‘disrupt’ in the last lyric was misspelled like [it is above],” said Casanova. “Two of the ads would appear at once, back-to-back. Then a minute or two later another two would appear back-to-back.”
The $200 early-bird passes are sold out; leaving some to speculate what kind of affect the ads will have on sales now that the only tickets available are those of full price ($230), the same amount they will be after the lineup is released April 11.
“I doubt [there will be a spike in sales], unless they tease some huge, huge band that no one expected,” said Marah Eakin, Chicago city editor at The A.V. Club. “As of right now, tickets are still available and beside Jack White, they haven’t really announced anyone that I think would make or break a $230 ticket purchase.”
The availability of only full-priced tickets isn’t raining on Rich’s parade.
“I’m a huge Lolla fan,” said Rich. “I’m a member on the fest’s message board where I run a thread about semi-confirmed/highly rumored acts. I’m most excited about the possibility of Garbage playing in Grant Park this summer, but there are going to be a ton of great bands, like Bloc Party, Sharon Van Etten and The Walkmen.
Because of being such a fan of Lollapalooza, Rich was able to notice something that created quite a buzz on Twitter last week.
“No one else seemed to notice [the ads],” said Rich. “It was mid-afternoon, so the platform wasn’t very crowded. Also, besides the #LOLLA, it was a little hard for people to tell what it was all about.”
Similarly, Casanova was aware of what was going on around him because of his piqued interest in the festival.
“I think it’s a genius, great way to keep people talking about Lollapalooza,” said Casanova. “It whets our appetites between buying early-bird tickets and the release of the lineup. It’s pretty torturous without something to tide us over in that time period.”