When Musicals Ruled Sales Kickoffs

Musicals for Sales Kickoffs_Ford_Industrial Musical

Music has long been a part of sales kickoffs and annual meetings to entertain, inspire and communicate key messaging. But did you know there was a time when the world’s largest companies would commission custom Broadway musicals for their sales kickoffs, and at a cost higher than producing an actual Broadway show? If you were looking to host an unforgettable conference, this was the hottest way to do it!

For nearly forty years, from the 1950’s through the late 1980’s, the world’s biggest brands from GE and Johnson & Johnson, to Miller Brewing and Ford all sought unique ways to entertain and inspire their teams at annual kickoff meetings. And they all found it in Broadway-style musicals customized for corporate meetings.

A recent documentary entitled ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’ (streaming now on Netflix) was produced by long-time David Letterman comedy writer, Steve Young, and covers the music and the spectacle of these over-the-top events.


Termed ‘Industrial Musicals,’ these full-length musical productions were aimed at introducing new products and services, communicating innovative sales techniques, and adding excitement to sales kickoffs through music and storytelling.

Companies spared no expense when it came to making their kickoff musical a huge hit. Renowned writers and composers such as Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb (Fiddler On the Roof, Chicago, Cabaret) were hired to create original scores and choreography. And, major actors and actresses were brought in to perform including Bob Newhart, Chita Rivera, Florence Henderson, Martin Short, Susan Stroman, and more.

These were huge productions, which oftentimes were only performed once, or perhaps a handful of times if a company was hosting several regional meetings. While extravagant, this strategy was entirely purposeful. Companies knew that a strong sales force was essential to success and used the pageantry and exclusivity of these events to celebrate and motivate teams, resulting in a strong return on investment.

When it comes down to it, sales kickoffs are all about pumping up your teams and providing the inspiring, celebratory boost needed to exceed targets. For years, music has proven to be a catalyst for uniting and motivating sales teams through rich, entertaining storytelling.

SongDivision proudly continues this spirit of uniting corporate teams and telling brand stories through music with programs such as our Team Anthem, IntroHits, and Culture Club.

For more on ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’, visit: bathtubsoverbroadway.com.

 

Create an unforgettable musical experiences for your sales kickoffs.

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