StubHub Gooses Its Digital Content With Katy Perry Concert Prank Video

Shifting dollars from TV to digital

Anyone who has purchased concert or sports tickets knows the ongoing struggle against hidden fees. Ticket resale company StubHub decided to play on those frustrations in its latest online Web series, which pranks customers into thinking they have to pay extra for their experience.

The latest video in #OnlyGoodSurprises program, which takes place at a Los Angeles Katy Perry concert, shocks fans into thinking that they'll be billed additional charges for everything including being a parent accompanying their kids and using the public restroom. One shocked person finds out that their tickets only cover watching the concert and not listening to the music. The clips end on a happy note, with StubHub providing gift certificates or upgraded seats as a reward for putting up with the gag—but not before the customers' frustrated expressions are captured.

Glenn Lehrman, head of global communications for StubHub, explained that the campaign was one way to show off its all-in pricing, which includes all fees for its tickets in its selling price. The push also represents the company's foray into original online content. Previously, StubHub posted its TV commercials online but didn't create digital programming. Production shop Kids At Play worked on the project.

"We thought that pranking would lend itself to humor," Lehrman said. "It's hard to create funny. It's easy to create sappy. We sort of just took a risk, and felt our brand lent itself to that kind of fun."

Lehrman added that with the popularity of DVR, people were fastforwarding through its television spots. Given that digital content can be consumed at any time and is easily viewed on mobile, Lehrman said StubHub would shift more resources toward the medium.

"That's not to say we’re done with television, but I certainly think the audience we're trying to reach is more typically to be found on digital platforms than on TV," he said.

The #OnlyGoodSurprises series has received 810,00 views across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The average person watches 1:15 minutes of the clip, which is 72 percent of the video. On top of that, more than 50 percent of the video views are on mobile.

Beyond the series, StubHub is venturing further into the brand publisher sphere. Its app, StubHub Music, pairs iTunes data with concerts in the local area to suggest events and bands that the user may like. The company is adding more written articles to enhance the experience and data like weather reports.