*Guest blog about Monday’s MoMa experience: Perfect Day
*Post about my John Taylor book signing: ‘Cause You’re Getting Me Out of It
*Comic Con experience and meeting of Zachary Quinto: I Won’t Turn You Out…
*Meet and greet with President Obama: Meet el Presidente
*Guest blog about travel packages the band did in 2003: Finest Hour
I chose these posts for a few reasons. First, the guest blogs seem to capture really big deals in the history of the Duran Duran fandom. Those “meet and greets” were beyond the normal. They were special and they were significant for those who participated. The middle three were ones that I could speak to, personally, since they are my experiences and ones that I learned a lot from. I’m sure that there were other posts that I could have included. Plus, these all had some or all of the elements I’m going to be emphasizing here.
Elements that make up perfect meet and greets:
1. Rules help.
In all of the posts I mentioned often, they all stated that rules were clearly explained. It was clear about when to show up and where. The fans knew what to expect in terms of interactions with the celebrities, including if the fans would approach them or vice versa. The same was true for any sort of physical contact. Fans knew where they needed to go and where the celebrities would be within the specified location. Things like photographs were spelled out, including who could take pictures, who couldn’t, when you could, the role of the professional photographer, etc.
2. Other employees connected to the celebrities should be present.
These employees help probably both famous and fan know that the rules mentioned above will be followed. On top of that, they create a sense that this is a big deal to fans, which makes it feel more special. Plus, fans often like to know or talk to those people as well! I know that I do! 🙂
3. The setting and extras make a difference.
Meet and greets in gross hallways feel icky. On the other hand, meet and greets in nice settings like restaurants, banquet halls, bars, etc. make it feel more special. Those kind of places show that the meet and greet wasn’t an after thought but something planned out, something important. It reinforces the goal of the meet and greet as the fans feel like they matter and their experience matters. Food is another nice touch, if and only if, the food is quality. If it isn’t quality, then, the message to the fans shift from you matter to you being an afterthought. Likewise, drinks are always a plus!
4. Time and space are essential.
Fans need to know that they are NOT rushed. They need the time to actually exchange words with the celebrity of choice. If fans feel rushed or feel like they only have 30 seconds, the experience won’t be as positive and could even feel negative. Fans could feel like they don’t matter again and that the celebrity(s) is just doing this because they have to rather than because they want to. Likewise, fans need to have some space to just be with the celebrity. I don’t know of any fan who wants to share her/his moment with the celebrity of choice with 50 other people breathing down one’s neck. Also, meet and greets should just happen for those who are assertive, socially. If you are there, it should happen with no pressure on how to be.
Results of the perfect meet and greets:
For the Fan:
First, all the fans feel like they have had their moment, their special and real moment with an idol(s). On a personal level, that really matters!!! Every fan I know wants this. Second, for the community, there is a decline in that competition between fans. If everyone at a meet and greet has her/his chance, moment, etc., there is no need to fight for time or attention from the celebrity. Everyone can just be happy for each other. Then, there is more joy and harmony within the fan community. Lastly, people’s fandom is reinforced. They love the celebrity MORE after a perfect meet and greet.
For the Celebrity:
First, these kind of meet and greets enhance people’s fandom. They are more likely to stay fans, which is super important for celebrities who take breaks or have long stretches outside of the spotlight (*coughDuranDurancough*). Likewise, they are also more likely to support the celebrities’ projects. That support could come in the form of talking about the celebrity(s) in one’s real life interactions but also on social media. It could also come in the form of buying more products (cds, concert tickets, merchandise, etc.). Second, a happier fan community also works to keep fans in the community. If the competition gets too much or leads to negative interactions between fans, those fans could decide to leave. That is a loss of money and attention to the celebrity. Lastly, if the fans have these well-structure chances to interact with the celebrity(s), then there might not be as many fans bothering them at off-work times or, in ways, that are less than comfortable for the celebrity. Truly, these kind of meet and greets are a win-win for all involved.
This list is probably not complete, but this is how I see it. Am I the only one? What do you think? What does the perfect meet and greet contain? As a Duranie, I could only hope that the band looks at Monday’s event and things like those previous travel packages in order to determine their meet and greets in the future. I think it would benefit all of us.