1 Person Can Make A Difference
Think One Person Can’t Make a Difference? I Killed Disco
by Mike Veeck
I hate disco. In 1979 I wasn’t alone. Anti-disco backlash was growing. I figured why not capitalize on the increasing antagonism toward fluffy, overproduced music and shiny clothing? And it could help the Chicago White Sox, my employer, and the team my father, Bill Veeck, owned. I enlisted the help of notoriously anti-disco Chicago DJ Steve Dahl. I ran this ad in the paper: “Bring your disco records to Comiskey Park, and we’ll blow them up with dynamite.”
Raised by a father whose outlandish, groundbreaking promotions eventually landed him in the Baseball Hall of Fame, I knew great ideas could build a career. I was proud of this silly promotion that captured a popular, but untapped sentiment. Disco Demolition was edgy, funny and newsworthy. In a year when the Sox drew 20,000 fans a night, I figured we could draw in as many as 35,000 people to the ballpark with our anti-disco message.
I was wrong.
Over 90,000 disco haters showed up. Unfortunately, Comiskey Park only held 46,000 people. We probably crammed 60,000 into the park that night with standing room only. Unfortunately, I had only hired enough security to handle 35,000.
Give up doing this: Following the crowd. (The crowd loved disco at its height.) When you follow the crowd, you’ll never draw a crowd.
Do this instead: Think about how much you hate the popular trend and attack it. Every trend has a backlash of early adopters waiting for someone to voice their frustration.
Just by being different, the anti-disco night got an amazing 90,000 people to a ballgame.
Chapter from: Another Boring, Derivative, Piece of Crap Business Book by Mike Veeck & Allen Fahden