“Get Lucky” Success Was More Than Just Luck

brand-as-business bit:  How did Get Lucky, the catchy pop single by Daft Punk, get to be considered the hit song of the summer?  According to a write-up by Eric Spitznagel in a recent Businessweek article, the group and its producers employed smart marketing strategies that provide inspiration for all marketers:

  1. media selection – Daft Punk used the same approach in selecting its media as it had in creating the music itself. “When we made the music, we did it with a very old school methodology,” Thomas Bangalter (one half of the group) explained. The group had used live instruments on analog tape to record the single and so it decided to use “iconic, old school marketing strategies like billboards and TV commercials,” to promote it.  As a testament to the adage the medium is the message, Daft Punk set up the album to be iconic by using iconic media.
  2. media relations – Kathryn Frazie, Daft Punk’s media director didn’t send out digital files of Get Lucky as is the custom these days.  Instead she delivered the album personally in a titanium briefcase to music journalists and executives.  She made a point to listen to the song with them — because “You shouldn’t write about a song without a thoughtful and uninterrupted listening experience,” she explained — and then left with the album in the case. The group adroitly engaged the media by carefully controlling the context.
  3. mystery – Well before the album was released, the band released a curious image on its Facebook page.  Featuring two helmets cut in half —one gold and one silver, which the duo have worn as costumes since 2001— with no other information, the tactic generated a lot of attention.  The group did very little other online promotion, not even releasing a video. But by releasing bits and pieces in various contexts, it engaged people far more actively than a traditional overt promotion would have.   Paul Hahn, the group’s manager, observed, “What it tells us is, there’s a great unexpressed desire in audiences worldwide to be active and to participate and not be spoken to as just a passive entity. You have to engage an audience in a way that inspires their imaginations. You have to invite them to participate.” [emphasis mine]

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