Our show on Industrial Musicals caught many listeners by surprise. Comments and tweets poured in about these catchy Broadway numbers about bathroom fixtures, tractors, and air conditioners that were written to inspire salespeople at company conventions. Hear it for yourself in an interview with “Industrials” writer Sheldon Harnick, actor-singer John Russell, and author (Everything’s Coming Up Profits) Steve Young:
Steve Young: There was the belief for quite a long time, I don’t know if there was ever hard data to back it up, but if you bring everyone together for this thrilling theatrical experience — and it often actually was thrilling to the audience — then they’d have a sense of purpose, they would get out there, they would charge ahead and have a renewed energy for selling.
Many of the songs were packed with information about details of the new products, or the marketing strategies that were being presented. So you’d go home, ideally, all fired up, with a new sense of your pride in working for the company and a way forward for what you were going to do as a sales person.