I really enjoy it when bands and music companies use creative marketing campaigns. Rather than trotting out the same old same old, just the right amount of innovation can really increase hype and help you reach a goal, whether that goal is selling tracks, tickets, posters, collecting e-mails, or anything else.
I’ve also noticed that the greatest opportunities for creativity are local, and as I am based out of Chicago, I’d like to highlight five examples of really cool campaigns I have seen over the past several months.
Mutts’ Record Store Day Video
The Chicago band Mutts made this really cool yet simple video in which they traveled to various record stores around Chicago and had workers at each store say something like “Happy Record Store Day.” The video lists all the stores’ addresses, and has a nice overall message for people to support local record stores.
After Mutts posted the video online, most of the record stores they visited reposted it, exposing Mutts to hundreds, maybe even thousands more people. Not only did record stores repost the video, but I started to see Chicago bands and music lovers in general repost as well. Pretty smart way to get your name out there on Record Store Day.
Stephen Paul Smoker’s Release of “Neon Green” on 4/20
Anyone can release a record, but it is more fun to release a record on a special occasion. And even though 4/20 isn’t exactly a national holiday, it definitely qualifies as a special occasion to a lot of people. Stephen Paul Smoker’s treating it like one. Smoker’s new 7 inch, which includes a track called “Neon Green,” is printed on green vinyl. Put it all together, and a 7″ called “Neon Green,” printed on green vinyl, and released on 4/20 equals one creative way to release a record.
The Loneliest Monk’s Christmas Release of “Carol of The Bells” via Twitter
Both on stage and on record, the Loneliest Monk comes across as one of the most unique young bands in Chicago. This past December, they released a unique version of “Carol of the Bells” that required fans to post a tweet that read “Downloading ‘Carol Of The Bells’ by @LoneliestMonk for free at http://wearetheloneliestmonk.com/xmas.” This simple trick exposed a whole new crop of people to The Loneliest Monk, and it’s more than likely the band gained tons of new fans as a result. Very smart.
Also, it’s just a hunch, but because both The Loneliest Monk and Stephen Paul Smoker are signed to Kilo Records, I’d assume that their label is at least part of the brains behind both campaigns. Definitely makes them worth watching.
Paper Thick Walls Performing in “Make Me Love You”
Paper Thick Walls teamed up with Chicago theatre group The Verge to produce a play that incorporated the band’s music. In addition to certain scenes that were set to the band’s music, they even had moments where cast members sang along. The band also got to perform a short set as people left the theatre, exposing the band to an entire new art community in the process.
Grape Juice Records‘ Windy City Winter Ball
Every year, this local label throws an event called Windy City Winter Ball. It is just like any other live show, except for the dress code: everybody dresses up as if they were going to a fancy ball. They’ve done such a good job with the branding of this event, which includes prizes for the best- and worst-dressed attendees, that most people go even if they don’t know the bands playing. After all, how often do hipsters, hippies, and metal heads have an excuse to put on their suits or gowns?
Every band has its own story, with their own strengths and weaknesses, but hopefully looking these over will help you generate some creative ideas for yourself.