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A Cardboard Record Player Rekindles Forgotten Direct Mail Magic

Cardboard-phonographIn the spring of 2009, Vancouver, Canada-based Griffiths, Gibson and Ramsay Productions (GGRP) began a direct mail campaign to creative directors of ad agencies marketing their sound production services. The campaign featured a folding cardboard phonograph and accompanying single that generated a great deal of industry attention and press in multiple waves that continued into the fall of 2010 and now reappears in 2011 at Hypebot.

GGRP Cardboard Record Player Case Study

In a world fixated on the latest news, GGRP's folding cardboard phonograph campaign remains quite timely for both its creativity and for its initial distribution by direct mail.  The campaign was designed to play off the resurgence of vinyl and to connect that resurgence to their own creativity in sound production though, honestly, it's that darn cardboard phonograph that inspired the strongest response.

The initial mailing went out to ad agencies in both Canada and the U.S. in April 2009 and resulted in word-of-mouth industry buzz followed by marketing industry press coverage.

GGRP went on to publicize the campaign in late 2009 with a charming video that employed a 50's style approach to presenting the Folding Cardboard Phonograph. At some point, they also began winning advertising awards for this campaign leading to additional press including an Ads of the World appearance that was then picked up by a variety of blogs and media outlets.

GGRP followed up with the above video that combines excerpted footage from the earlier video along with some award and media coverage highlights.

The multiple waves of attention resulted in even more press than GGRP seems to have expected. Though the focus remained on the phonograph, the use of direct mail may have added to its impact.  Of course, it's likely that ad agencies are used to receiving nicely printed bulky packages on a regular basis.

However, I'm certainly not the first to point out that, as mail decreases, interesting packages stand out even more strongly than in the days where marketing by direct mail was a much bigger industry. GGRP's tie-in to vinyl's appeal was a smart move that one could see a band or label taking with press outlets who are used to receiving music on CD or vinyl but rarely in such a unique package.

While similar efforts are unlikely to be affordable to most indie acts, creative packaging for one's CD, DVD, vinyl or thumbdrive promo mailing would certainly make one's offering stand out from the typical press kit.

If you have some outstanding examples of direct mail campaigns related to music, I'd love to hear about them in the comments or at the email address below.

Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. He currently maintains a writing hub at Flux Research and periodically blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest music services and related topics for review at Hypebot, please contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.