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Smashing Pumpkins Gish-Aversary: A Case Study


They say age is just a number, and maybe that’s true, but sometimes those numbers are milestones worth a proper celebration. So before we go any further, join us in tipping your cap to The Smashing Pumpkins on their now 30 year-old debut studio album, Gish. Follow along below for a great look at how The Smashing Pumpkins took a classic album and re-imagined its birthday in a simple, engaging and (maybe our favorite part….) direct-to-fan way.

The Idea: Gish-Aversary

Instead of this milestone simply being an online footnote, a single social media post, or drive-time rock DJ fodder, the band embraced the idea that fans want to celebrate these anniversaries alongside their favorite bands. Enter “Gish-Aversary,” a week-long social media celebration curated by the band that engaged fans in everything from digital scavenger hunts, Gish-related story telling and much more.

 

Listening Party / Q&A

The social content throughout the week was leading up to the main event: a listening party / Q&A with Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin live at Madame Zuzu’s, a plant-based tea shop in Chicago, owned by Corgan. Very limited in-person tickets were sold, and for just $19.91 (very clever), fans from around the world could access the event via livestream in the Smashing Pumpkins webstore. Corgan and Chamberlin would hang out, spin the album, take fan questions and more, with another smart twist: a portion of the money raised was to be donated to PAWS, a no-kill animal shelter in Chicago.


Gish-Aversary General Content, Continued

Something the SP team clearly and firmly grasped (and executed expertly) is the idea that your video content should be a piece of your fan engagement strategy. After the show was announced, and in the days leading up to tickets going on sale, more pieces of engaging Gish content were steadily posted to keep the fans talking about the anniversary. A coloring book, another scavenger hunt piece, a “favorite lyric” fan question were a great warmup for a store link promoting the limited edition, deluxe anniversary edition of the star of the show — Gish.

   

Tickets & Bundle Options

When it was time for tickets to go on sale, the D2C brilliance of the whole idea was on full display. Yes, you could buy just the livestream ticket, but more importantly (as we’ve preached time and again) the band bundled the livestream tickets with higher value (and higher margin) merch. Swipe the slides below to see some of the bundles that were available.




The Show!

We’ve arrived at Zuzu’s on May 29, and whether you’ve literally physically arrived or have logged on via the SP webstore, the excitement is the same. There are two of your favorite musicians, just feet away in a relaxed (read: non-show) setting, spinning an album you love and taking questions from the crowd. These moments humanize musicians and are memories the fans will hang on to forever. At the actual event, there is of course limited edition (and other) merch for sale, while online the chat function of the webstream has fans from all over the world engaging both with the band and with each other — all the while tucked neatly into The Smashing Pumpkins webstore, encouraging more purchases along the way.


This wasn’t a tour stop with world-class production, or even a livestream show that has anything but the feel of being “live” to those at home. With the Gish-Aversary Livestream / Q&A event, The Smashing Pumpkins proved that it doesn’t have to be either of those things for you to continue to engage (and yes, monetize) your fans with all sorts of video content as a piece of your online strategy.

Want some other ideas on how to re-imagine your video content in a "post-pandemic” world? Check out our recent blog piece here.

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