How to win from a mistake
The other week I was asked to host a cinema showing, of a the new Muppet’s film, for the radio radio station I work for, JACK fm.
Before the film starts I, basically, stand at the front with a mic, play a few games with the audience and throw out some prizes.
This time we were about to do the same and I was really looking forward to the game we were about to play.
Pete in the office had created an animated little graphic, to go on the big screen. It was a film clapper board that generated a seat number when the clapper shut.
The person sitting in this seat would win a prize.
Sounds good yeah?
There was only one snag, five minutes before we started, the game, my boss said to me, “There’s been a clerical error and only 150 people will be showing up rather than 300”.
I said, “ok” thinking nothing of it then I realised something.
What if the clapper board generated a seat number nobody was sitting in?
This was very likely to happen, as one half of the cinema was empty. So potentially 5 of the 10 prizes, we had to give away, would go to nobody.
We had neither the time nor resources to change the seat numbers on the animated graphic, as the audience started taking their seats.
All of a sudden this excellent little game, we’d come up with, was quickly turning into a damp squib. It would be a bigger flop than… well whatever the biggest film flop you can think of is.
My boss said, “Hmmmm”
So I thought for a while and said, “How about we say, “If the number generated is an empty seat, then the first to sit in that seat, wins the prize”?
“Yeah good idea”
It turns out, seeing children and adults alike frantically scurrying around in a semi lit cinema, desperately trying to find the empty winning seats, was the best part of the game!
You think about it.
If the cinema had been full, all people would’ve had to have done was raise their hand to claim their prize.
With the cinema half empty, most of the audience would have to get up and leg it to the row and seat they thought was the winning one. It provided some excellent comedy value with people falling over each other and jumping rows of seats.
In fact, I liked it so much I’ve suggested that we do the same next time, that is, slightly under book the audience and select winning seats located at the extremes of the cinema.
Thank goodness for the clerical error, if it wasn’t for the empty seats we wouldn’t have had half the fun, or a better plan for next time.