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The Lady Gaga Concert Debacle

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In early 2012, Big Daddy Entertainment, an Indonesian entertainment promoter that manages concerts and events for international and local artists, secured an agreement with Lady Gaga’s management to host a concert in Indonesia, as part of the artist’s “Born This Way Ball Tour 2012.” Tickets quickly sold out for the concert scheduled to be held on June 3, 2012. In the month leading up to the concert, there was resistance from religious groups, and due to pressure from these groups, the National Police refused to issue a crowd permit to Big Daddy. The permit is necessary to hold events that attract large crowds – this refusal came even as Big Daddy had secured a permit to sell tickets months prior.

Burson-Marsteller strategically managed the crisis by mobilizing public opinion to support the concert through online and traditional media. Through the use of Twitter, Big Daddy and Lady Gaga herself engaged with fans and other social media influencers to inform them about concert updates and the progress in securing the concert permit. In less than three hours, the hashtag #WeWantLadyGaga became the third trending topic on Twitter in Indonesia. Conversation on Twitter and other social media platforms was further heightened after the team secured several radio interviews with top management from Big Daddy. The team also helped to create an ongoing dialogue between Big Daddy and the government groups with influence on event permits. Finally, Big Daddy was instructed by the National Police to conduct a media conference as one of the requirements to acquire the permit.

Following the media conference, the National Police gave the permit to Big Daddy to hold the concert. As a result of the campaign, there was a relatively balanced conversation in the media about the concert, with prominent Indonesian figures, from politicians to artists, stating they supported the concert. Even though the concert was cancelled by Lady Gaga’s management due to security reasons, Big Daddy was seen as a credible promoter because the company adopted a transparent approach throughout the process of acquiring the permit and providing refunds for all tickets.