Now Chris Wink, 40, one of three Blue Man Group founders, manages an empire of 34 blue men, one blue woman, four shows (in New York, Boston, Chicago and Las Vegas) and a staff of 400. It's a lucrative empire, too-the newest Blue Man Group show in Las Vegas' Luxor hotel grossed more than $3 million a month as guests shelled out $75 each.
The saga begins back in 1987, when Mr. Wink and two friends donned blue paint and protested pop culture through offbeat performances in the streets of Manhattan. The guys took baby steps toward popularity and built people's awareness of the show through grassroots marketing and satirical print and radio advertising.
A year ago, Blue Man Group said yes to appearing in a series of prime-time Intel Pentium III commercials, which brought them into America's living rooms. In February, when Intel launched the upgraded Pentium 4, the computer-chip maker again called on the blue men to carry out what Intel calls one of its most successful campaigns ever.
"From a brand standpoint, we felt they were a very good fit," says John Travis, director of Intel worldwide consumer promotions and TV advertising strategy. "Intel stands for technological innovation and Blue Man Group is considered extremely innovative and creative in the theater community."
Next marketing challenge for the group? Not to have the public notoriety as "the guys from the Intel commercial."