Now here’s something you don’t see every day: Ambassadors robo-calling to sell tickets to an inaugural ball.
“This is Ambassador Tebelelo Seretse of the Republic of Botswana to the United States. I have the honor of serving as a co-chair and host committee member for the 2013 Ambassadors’ Inaugural Ball,” she reads from a script. She goes on to say that tickets to the “illustrious event” are “moving fast.”
The ball is one of the many new entries into the inaugural party fray, which is why organizers hoping to sell 1,500 tickets ($100- $750) tried the unusual sales strategy. “This is a unique ball with a fresh perspective, so we chose to employ a variety of methods to market aggressively,” said PR director Trea Davenport.
The Jan. 21 party at the Carnegie Library — one of dozens of unofficial events surrounding the inauguration — is designed to celebrate the diplomatic corps. It lists 30-plus envoys (most from smaller countries like Suriname, Macedonia, Panama, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Albania, Kosovo, Albania, etc.) as honorary co-chairs, all of whom Davenport said will attend. But the promotional material also suggests that cabinet members, congressmen and “heads of state” will attend. Er, really? Well, they’re invited, organizers say. But reps for Rep. John Coyners and Miss USA Nana Meriwether confirmed they’ll be there, along with performers DJ Biz Markie, Lira and Mi Casa.
Why would an accredited ambassador dive into the ball business?
“From my understanding, several charities have been identified” as beneficiaries, said Neil Parsan, ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago, who also did a robo-call. “We are looking forward to having the diplomatic community celebrate the president of the host country.” Davenport said the ball would benefit, among others, the Keno Foundation, AthleTECH and Meriwether’s personal foundation.
Will they pull it off? Some planned balls for Obama’s first inaugural were canceled when demand did not meet supply or other issues; Davenport told us Monday sales were “going well.”
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