This one you’ve got to listen to. I had to get this off my mind since I think it’s such a cool idea. Have you listened to music by “The Residents” — “an avant garde music and visual arts group formed in the early 1970s“? They are also “known for their secrecy, singular art, and embrace of new technology” — no wonder that shows in their latest project. (All quotes from Wikipedia)
So here’s the scoop on their latest web CD project (via CNN) that retails at $14.99. It contains (brace yourself) 2 BLANK CDs. Now, here’s what’s cool. The CDs contain a unique code which enables you to access their 5-episode web music series through their website. If you don’t like all episodes, you can download individual episodes for $1.99 each! Not only that, customers “will also receive digital extras like ringtones and mobile wallpaper as well as materials that can be burned onto the blank CD-Rs”.
Here are 3 reasons why I think it’s great viral marketing:
If youth marketers haven’t gotten the memo from MySpace, Youtube & Scion, I don’t know when they will. The primary reason for MySpace’s success lies in its ability to create a virtual environment where users can showcase their identity with no hassles and no questions. Yes! The website is ugly but who cares. The same holds true for Scion, from the Toyota stable. The car is a HUGE success with youngsters because it affords them the flexibility to “pimp their ride”, as “The Bard” is wont to say. The customer or user wants options and the smart marketer will pander to this basic need. Ask and THEN thou shalt receive a million options!
Users like to associate themselves with unique products or campaigns. Case in Point: How many of you have had a chance to see a recent ad for Sony Bravia? Well, just Google “Sony Bravia” + “Jose Gonzalez”. That was the hook for a recent viral email marketing campaign. Not only is the method of eliciting interest – “UNIQUE” it actually lends a certain coolness to all parties associated with the ad – both Sony and the artist.
Is this a sign of changing times for music marketing?
3. PULL vs. Push:
Viral campaigns are evangelistic. I haven’t stopped raving about the Sony Bravia ad to all I’ve met and now I’m talking about it on my blog! An important caveat however is that you’ve gotta be REALLY good or REALLY bad or REALLY funny to be a VIRAL success. There is no middle ground here. Choose one or the other as a marketer and position your product so that interested targeted audiences can PULL them into their lives. As a marketer, you can help facilitate that!
As for the Residents expirement, the jury is still out, but my bet is on them successfuly wooing their target audience. Only, Time will tell.