Alternative music marketing concepts are often more interesting for the concept than the reality. For instance, announcing your new album with a Craigslist ad sounds underground and edgy but I find it unlikely that Chromeo got coverage without directly promoting that ad to writers. And though Sony really did put a bunch of their Walkmans into water bottles and display them in a dispensing machine that doesn't mean they were targeting a niche swimming market as claimed in the video below.
Chromeo's Fake Craigslist Announcement
The weird thing about Chromeo's fake Craigslist ad is that the idea is more interesting than the reality.
By "fake Craigslist ad" I mean that they posted album release info on Craigslist but they then tweeted it to their 105k followers most of whom didn't respond with much enthusiasm except for the music writers.
So, yeah, it was a real Craigslist ad but the coverage implies that the news got out through Craigslist and typically you'd have at least one story of someone finding it but it's pretty obvious from the coverage that everybody that got the news got it from the tweet, a publicist or other publications without crediting them.
What they're really doing is writing about the idea of announcing an album on Craigslist as if that's where the news started. The news started on Twitter or via publicists' outreach.
I'm not knocking anybody involved in this marketing chain which now includes me (via Hypebot editor Bruce Houghton). But it's important to recognize that often when the press covers an interesting idea they give the misleading impression that just doing that one thing led to coverage when the coverage actually came about for other reasons and would have happened anyway even if they hadn't done that particular thing.
Sony: "The Bottled Walkman" Campaign
Sony's Bottled Walkman campaign has a much milder fakery that is almost unfair to point out.
Cause when you say products are waterproof and then prove it in such a cool way as submersing them in water bottles and selling them from a vending machine (or, at least, displaying them in a vending machine) it seems beside the point to quibble with a backstory detail that nobody cares about anyway.
But, honestly, saying this was a marketing campaign (via video voiceover) to a "niche" market, i.e. swimmers who want to hear music while swimming and don't mind the reduction in speed due to drag which means it's an even smaller niche than just swimmers who want to hear music while swimming, is somewhat misleading.
Again, it's the idea of marketing to a niche market in this unique way that is then spread to trigger the news. It wasn't like the coverage far beyond that market was a side effect. That was the intended effect.
In both cases, at the end of the day, it's the striking imagery of seeing Chromeo in a Craigslist ad and Walkmans in water bottles that is at the heart of these campaigns. All else is just marketing tactics and procedures.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.