Hanson an eCommercial Success

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The use of e-mail marketing by teenybopper band Hanson to get in touch with 15,000 of its hard-core fans earlier this month was so successful that the band will launch follow-up campaigns in conjunction with an album release May 9 and tour this summer.


To create a groundswell for the band's new single, "This Time Around," eCommercial.com put together a short rich media spot that was distributed through e-mail. Without having to download special software, fans can view the eCommercial. It includes a video introduction by the band announcing the new video and upcoming record release plus performance footage.


"Changing the way the band communicates with fans is part of the goal here," said Hanson manager Stirling McIlwaine. "Hanson is pulled in so many different directions, the Internet gives them direct contact with fans in one place at one time."


Of the 15,000 fans (generally girls ages 12 to 18), 31 percent opened the message and viewed the clip an average of three times. Typically, eCommercials are viewed only 1.5 times.


Of those who opened the message, 96 percent clicked though to one of the links, including Hansononline.com (9 percent) and the MTV jump page (31 percent). Fifty-five percent of those that opened the message downloaded the MP3 version of the band's new single.


The message hits home because Hanson-starved fans are receiving exclusive content that isn't available anywhere else, according to Tom Blakeley, CEO of eCommercial.com, Aliso Viejo, CA. "The guys in the band are talking in an intimate way. If they were to talk like that on TV, people would say how pretentious."


One of the goals of the message was to drive online fan club membership. This appears to have worked as 29 percent of the fans that viewed the message opted in to receive additional e-mails from the band. Perhaps more importantly, the e-mail has taken off virally among the band's more than 10 million fans.


When the piece concludes a splash page opens up that asks the viewer if they wish to send the message to a friend. One-third of fans did so.


"It's self-promoting because friends can pass it along. It's technologically advanced word of mouth. It's like an online trading card," said McIlwaine. "Our fans, in particular, love to collect different novelty things associated with Hanson. It's a unique way to communicate with fans."


The next eCommercial, expected to launch next month to hype the band's new album, is slated to go out to 100,000 fans. The follow-up message to promote the band's concert tour is expected to include a link where fans can order tickets online.


"We're into doing things that haven't been done before," said McIlwaine. "This is the transition between the old way of marketing a record and the new way."


An eCommercial costs $5,000 to produce and 15 to 25 cents per delivery based on volume of the mailing. eCommercial clients include 20th Century Fox, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and the band N'Sync.
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