5 super innovative marketing campaigns created by artists

We all want our album release to reach it’s full potential, right? Having a strong marketing campaign ahead of your release launch is essential because first impressions are always the ones that stick. If you want someone to remember your work and want to give it a go when it’s out, then you need to stand out from the crowd. Some artists though, have taken this advice to the extremes.

Here’s some of our favourites 👇

😎 Josh Freese (2009)

We’ve all dreamt about meeting our idol, but what if an album launch meant you could do exactly that? It’ll cost you big time though. His release Since 1972 gave fans a chance to interact with him in a way they could have never imagined. He offered so many crazy extras, for $50 you would receive a CD/DVD (back when those were a thing, remember?). You would also get your hands on a t-shirt and a 5-minute call with the man himself. Pretty good for an avid fan right?

Josh Freese Since 1972 album cover

Of course, he didn’t stop there. If you happened to have a spare $10,000 lying around, he’d take you on the trip of a lifetime to Disneyland, and you’d finish the getaway being the proud owner of his car, a Volvo station wagon. A little confusing if you ask me, what if multiple fans had the money to spend? He only had the one Volvo, surely?

If you found yourself with more money than sense, you could hand over $75,000 and have a 5-song EP dedicated to you and your life. You’d also have Josh Freese as your own personal assistant for two whole weeks, during that time you’d get to take a trapeze lesson with him.

It seems like a completely crazy marketing campaign, but did it do the trick? Surely the whole point during a release campaign is to capture people’s attention? Even if he didn’t get any takers for the grand prize, he’s still got people like me talking about it now. Result!

🐯 Katy Perry (2013 & 2017)

Now, this girl, knows how to launch a campaign. There’s not just one I want to talk to you about, there’s two! During her release launch for the album Prism, she got the kids onboard. Let’s face it, children can be the harshest critics, they don’t hold back, they say it how it is. No feelings spared. For this album she sent a golden truck around the US asking her fans to create a video for the well known song Roar.

As this was a contest for children, she set the stakes high. The winning video would receive a free concert at their school during the week of the album release launch. Imagine that, being able to have fun with your mates, impress your idol and then have her perform in front of all your peers, knowing it was all thanks to you!

Katy Perry Prism album cover
Credit: Amazon Music

Another fun, creative idea Katy Perry revealed involved giant disco balls being chained up, across multiple cities. This was to coincide with her 2017 single Chained to the Rhythm. She took to Twitter to plant a clue and attached was a map of the locations. Fans scrambled to find these disco balls, took selfies with them but best of all, they got to hear the single in such a unique way. By attaching their headphones, they could hear the music playing. What an exciting way to first hear a new track by your favourite artist!

Katy Perry's tweet advertising the secret locations
@katyperry via Twitter

🍁 Boards of Canada (2013)

What a way to make a comeback! After an eight-year hiatus, the Scottish duo decided they’d have some fun with their fans and make it interesting. On Record Store Day the pair placed 12-inch vinyls in stores for their fans to hunt down. Once they were played, it was discovered that on the vinyls there was an audio clip which contained a six-digit number.

Boards of Canada Tomorrow's Harvest Vinyl

So, the hunt for the vinyl wasn’t challenging enough? What do you then do with these numbers you’ve scribbled down? It turns out that these numbers were in fact a secret password. This password led to a video where they announced their new release.

What a fun way of creating excitement amongst your fan-base. They didn’t say there would be any new music released, this was all discovered by the fans themselves through the clues given. After taking a break from releasing music, it can be difficult to capture the same audience and rely on your fans sticking around during your absence. So coming back with something exciting and engaging really was a smart idea.

🌑 Michael Jackson (1995)

Michael Jackson is one of those artists who probably didn’t need a release campaign. I mean, let’s face it, his name will certainly always be remembered. However, he wasn’t one to do things light-heartedly. His release of HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I was definitely going to capture attention.

Together with Sony, he spent $30 million on this particular campaign. He decided to place giant statues throughout Europe. These statues were of himself, the King of Pop and weighed 20,000 pounds. Spending that amount of money on one release campaign gives me the shivers. However, I guess if you can, then what’s stopping you? It’s still being spoken about decades later, so it was definitely effective.

Via YouTube

🕹 Iron Maiden (2015)

Something a bit different again. In 2015 with the release of their new album Book of Souls, the metal band introduced a retro video game which you can play online.

The clever thing about this is, their song plays in the background throughout the game. So while you’re having a go at beating your previous record, they’re marketing their music to anyone who gives it a go. You don’t even have to be a fan of Iron Maiden to want to give it a try, which is why it works wonderfully for them. Maybe you just want to try out this game people have been talking about, and you end up deciding to download the track after all.

Iron Maiden The Book of Souls release

If you ask me, some of these release campaigns are completely crazy, but they’re all powerful in their own way. These budgets were obviously extreme, but you don’t need an endless amount of money to create something different and fun. You just need to be able to think outside the box, try something new that you haven’t seen before. Why not team up with other creatives to collaborate on something that could benefit all of you? Do you know of a graphic designer or videographer that you could join up with? Surely, a group of creatives can come together to make something new and exciting! Why not try something different in your next campaign?

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