Ideal Meet & Greet/Photo Op
If I could sit down with celebrity VIP teams…
This is a topic I have been thinking about for the last few years. It’s part of the reason for starting this blog. I never want this page to be a negative place but, rather somewhere to share information, experiences, value etc. If I could sit down with artist’s and their management teams to give them insight into what fans feel are best VIP practices this is what I would say:
- Artists should keep their commitments. It’s one of the things that I think a pop star and his team did wrong earlier this year. If they didn’t want to do meet and greets anymore that’s fine but, finish the ones that you had committed to, implement rules to meet your needs in the interim and have your team enforce them but, respect that a good portion of your VIP attendees often are paying to travel for the experience.
- Don’t do photo assembly lines. I truly wish all artists that did meet and greets would commit to an hour or so of their time depending on the #’s and do it right, treat each person like a human being, say hello, ask their name, ask where they are from (stars may be shocked how far some will travel to see them), have a genuine interaction, then take the photo. Let’s face it these meet and greets, photo ops, fan trips cost a large sum of money, show the fans you value and respect their time and money by giving them an interaction. When an artist’s team brags that they did 300 pictures in 16 minutes that truly is disappointing vs a recent event I was at they had about 200 people and they devoted a solid hour or more, it wasn’t rushed and everyone that walked out after was so happy, felt so special and most of all valued.
- Make the interactions private. What I have been seeing quite a bit lately is a curtain box created and have thought that is such a great idea. You can step in, have your interaction and not have 200-300 people watching it. It helps with your nerves too, nobody wants to feel like they are in a fishbowl it also solves the issue of people taking photos of the entertainer/star as they approach. It will also help the genuine interaction because then they are not still speaking to the person ahead of you etc.
- Make the rules clear, stick to them and let them know what will happen if they violate the rules. If you say don’t take your cell phones out and ask for a selfie and someone does don’t post the photo, if you say don’t hug, kiss and rub all over an artist and people do don’t post the photo. I would guarantee you would only have to enforce it once and word would travel. Too many fans will just take liberties, ignore the rules just to achieve their own objective and it truly does spoil the process for others in many cases and it’s disrespectful to the artist.
- Post photos in a timely manner. The companies that have them posted same day or in 24 hours always get a WOW for service from me. VIP Nation events have been crushing it with this service the last year. All events I have gone to hosted by them they have been up during the show or the next day. It’s been nice to see many are getting them done quickly lately, people are always so excited to receive them so the faster the better.
- Give organic genuine experiences. A few tours recently I have seen many people asking for kisses, hugs etc. You are putting the stars in an awkward position because if they say no then they can be looked at like they are being a jerk but, people have to realize in most cases you are a stranger or a familiar face in the crowd to the artist. Would you want a stranger walking up and asking you to kiss them, hug them etc.? It’s such a better experience when it happens organically and it’s something the artist initiates because it’s genuine and something they truly wanted to do. On the flip side though as the artist make an effort to say hello, ask someone’s name and go from there.
- Please no gum or food in your mouth. I have a few photos with different entertainers with a wad of gum clearly seen in the pic and then recently had an experience where someone was eating a marshmallow. Again people pay a lot for these experiences, travel long distances and it’s just respectful not to have food/gum in your mouth and seen in the photos.
- Respect the time of individuals paying for the VIP experience. Don’t make them arrive 2 hours ahead to just stand in line and don’t leave them in the various elements like extreme heat & cold. Be organized. Nobody likes to stand around waiting for hours.
For random interactions with stars I always like to see who puts in the extra effort with their fans. I can say after seeing it many times that Keith Urban is one of the best at this. Keith will stop and literally do selfies with 40 people and it takes maybe 10 minutes. Now in these random cases I think it’s fine to do a quick hello, photo and move on you are not paying for it.
I think the stars also need to be careful the way their team is representing them. At the softball game at CMA fest one of the entertainer’s boyfriend’s came out where fans were lined up after the game and was telling a guy to hurry up and have her car pulled around because she didn’t want to stop for fans. Another country star I saw three times at CMA fest once on the pink carpet, at Fan Fair X and then out and about and he could not be bothered to take a photo or have an interaction but as soon as a TV camera was on him he changed right away. I personally will not spend my money, pay to travel, attend a concert of anyone that shows such disregard for fans. It’s all in how the situation is handled. Like I said in my CMA Fest blog from Day 3 instead of responding “NAH” to someone, say sorry not today. Treat people like human beings and they will in turn reward you by devoting their time and spending their hard earned money to support your career.
One star recently said it best you always have to treat each person special because that may be your 1 time ever to meet that person that has supported you and you don’t know what they had to do to be at that show, if they saved for 6 months, flew across the country etc. Whether it’s a 30 second selfie interaction or a paid meet and greet it’s your chance to make and leave an impression both on the fan and star’s end. I will always support the ones that care and truly get it because that adds value to the experience. I also feel we all have to treat them respectfully.
I would love to hear more thoughts on this from those that read the blog…
Until next time,