Joffrey Ballet's win-win with Groupon is a lesson for cultural institutions

On Aug. 18, the Groupon online “deal of the day” offered discounted subscriptions to the upcoming season of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Within 24 hours, 2,338 people had taken the bait, the Joffrey announced the following day in a press release.

To offer some perspective, the Joffrey had about 4,900 subscribers on Aug. 17. In other words, the ballet company saw a nearly 50 percent increase in its subscription base in one day. And they said subscriptions were dying. Or dead. Nonsense.

The smarter arts organizations are realizing that you have to give people a deal. No one wants to pay the sticker price in this economy. Raise the ticket prices and you see fewer people. Give folks a break, and they’ll maybe pay more next time and buy a profitable drink at intermission.

Bravo to the marketing team at Joffrey Ballet for embracing new technologies, taking a risk and introducing new people to the company.


Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit

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