In case you’re still steaming about the debacle that was the botched on-sale of tickets for Kraftwerk’s eight April shows at MoMA—or just wondering where all the tickets to those shows could have gone, since nobody you know got them—Volkswagen has some news for you. It’s giving away 50 pairs of tickets a night (so 100 tickets a show) to people who will help the car company virally market itself by transforming them into animated GIFs! Insert your own “Computer World” gag here.
From the press release, which also touches on “extraordinary interest in the Kraftwerk performances” but does not note that much of that “extraordinary interest” was the result of tickets being pretty much unattainable:
Kraftwerk fans can win tickets by visiting the “VW GIFaway” website at www.VWGIFaway.com and entering their contact information. For a second entry opportunity–and an interactive way to express their excitement–fans can post an animated GIF of themselves. Animated GIFs are composed of multiple images to give the appearance of a movie clip, and are a staple of Internet culture. These animated GIFs may be featured in the “VW Online GIF HUB.” If visitors do not want to create a GIF for their second entry into the prize drawing, they can mail in their entry. Winners will be contacted by March 26, 2012.
So, 100 tickets a night, or 800 total, just given away to a car company that’s hoping people can turn themselves into memes-in-the-making. How does this compare to the number of tickets that actually went on sale? Let’s do the math outlined by Joshua Dziabiak, the CEO of Showclix, in the “sorry everybody” open letter he penned after the ticketing nightmare went down:
Kraftwerk’s eight-night performance on-sale was a very unique situation. While we’re not able to disclose the number of tickets that were available for these performances, what I will say is that of the tens and tens of thousands of die-hard Kraftwerk fans from around the world that logged on at exactly noon EST yesterday to get these tickets, the venue capacity restrictions would only ever allow approximately 1.20% of them to actually be reserved. As you might imagine, this is an extremely large technical hurdle, particularly because of the tiny fraction of supply versus the demand.
In case you were wondering how that shakes out, 1.2 percent of 20,000 is 240 (30 tickets a night—remember, people were only allowed to buy one pair of tickets for the whole eight-night run), 1.2 percent of 50,000 is 600 (75 tickets a night) and 1.2 percent of 99,999 is just about 1,200 (150 tickets a night). Capacity at the venue is pretty tiny. So you have to wonder: Did Volkswagen get more tickets than Showclix? What other internet contests will pop up over the coming weeks?
Although really, more surprising than the fact that this bit of cross-promotion exists is the fact that Volkswagen didn’t set up shop for this during the interactive portion of South By Southwest, whose attendees this year seemed to treat being callously marketed at the way that some organisms act when they’re given things like life-sustaining water or food. (Maybe the promotions team just came up with the animated gif idea too late to get non-insanely-expensive flights down to Austin.)