This month I was lucky enough to visit The Edinburgh Fringe Festival to support some of my funny friends who were putting on shows. What I discovered is that the festival is business in microcosm and that it is a great metaphor for how businesses approach marketing and what they could achieve if they upped their game.

We have some experience of Fringe Festivals as for a period of time we ran the commercials for The Brighton Fringe Festival, bringing in sponsors, advertisers and experiential marketers for their street spaces. However, I was wholly unprepared for the phenomenon that is Edinburgh Fringe.

Edinburgh Fringe has been running since 1947 and has become a Mecca for performers, especially comedians, looking to advance their careers and the streets were overflowing with visitors all out to have a great time.

Attending talks about Marketing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is something we would highly encourage you to do if you ever attend it!


I was there to support some of my friends who had made an enormous investment of time, energy and money to put on their own shows. The most obvious way for a natural born salesman like me to get involved was to do some flyering. I was equally apprehensive and excited. Apprehensive because I have never done it before and flyering is universally regarded as the worst thing about the festival and I do this sort stuff for a living so had a huge expectation of what I could achieve. Excited because I am good at this stuff, I love meeting people and I felt that I could really help my friends out.

What I realised from the outset is that flyering is the essential first step in the process and it was clear that the performers weren’t necessarily getting that. They were hoping that people, more specifically reviewers, would miraculously turn up, find them hilarious and write the reviews that would rocket them into stardom. However, exactly the same as in business, the magic bullet only ever reliably hits the target if you fire enough shots consistently and know exactly who it is you are aiming at.

Comedy always plays really badly to rows of empty seats and what you need a room full of happy, buzzy laughy people before you even get started, but a lot of the performers were going about the process as if it were the most abominable task they had ever had to undertake, a bit like marketing in business.

To find out how I got on you will need to come back next week, as there is a lot to tell you.