When did the idea come to you to enter a series of times?
I actually had it first in 2012. I was looking at the Fringe programme and racking my head over how to get value for money out of it, when I noticed the pricing structure for shows doing shorter runs at the festival. So that year I had 7 listings, but it didn't really work; most people assumed I was an idiot for doing 7 different shows (it was actually only 4 different shows). On a side note my good friend Mr Barry Ferns had the same idea that year and listed 5 different shows together, but he admitted to me it also didn't really work.
How much cash did you save with your stunt?
I bought 11 two-day listings (to cover the 22 dates of my show) at £80 each, so £880 total. A normal listing costs £328 and would take up 1/12 of a page, but my 11 listings took up 11/12 of a page. A quarter page ad costs 1/4 page, extrapolating that out I calculate that an 11/12 page ad would cost £4400.
Therefore in theory I saved myself £3520 in advertising costs. Though also as it was the only show in the programme advertised in that way a lot of people were talking about it, so perhaps it was worth even more than that.
(All costs for 2013 and excluding VAT).
I figured it would catch people's attention, I certainly didn't think anyone would actually get worked up about it. To be honest I thought someone else would've also done it as well, after all it seemed like an obvious loophole.
What would you say to people who suggested it wasn't in the spirit of the Fringe?
I think it's odd that anyone would claim it's against the spirit of the Fringe, one of the main purposes of the festival is to push boundaries. It was bizarre that one promoter tried to kick up a fuss about it and even resigned from a voluntary post at the Fringe. Though on balance most people, and most promoters, thought it was a good idea and were supportive.
Did the extra listings and media coverage translate into audiences?
In terms of audiences it helped, I asked during each show how many people were here purely because they saw the listings and were intrigued, it varied but on average it was about 1/4 of the audience. It also helped get more reviewers in than someone of my profile would expect, especially given that I was doing my own PR. Though there was the downside that it had built up some kind of expectation, a couple of reviewers said they felt the show didn't live up to the publicity stunt! It's fair enough, while I try to push the boundaries with my show it's not as unique as the publicity.
Check out Gareth's website and follow him on Twitter @gmorinan