Paul McCartney album launch gets hybrid-DR boost

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Zephyr Media Group, a marketing and advertising agency, and music label Concord Music Group have collaborated on a campaign to help Paul McCartney's "Memory Almost Full" debut at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 Chart.

Evanston, IL-based Zephyr Media and Concord Music used traditional and direct-response marketing strategies to promote the album release earlier this month.

"Our goal was to get it to chart as best as possible on the Billboard 200 Chart and it came in at No. 3, which for an artist who's been around almost 40 years - competing against rap groups and Rihanna - was quite thrilling," said Carey Chase, media supervisor at Zephyr Media Group. "Promoting it through an untraditional retailer, Starbucks, also probably had something to do with that."

"Memory Almost Full" is being released by Hear Music, a joint venture between Concord and Starbucks.

Ms. Chase did the media buys for the national and local spots to promote the release. The spots ran several days building up to the June 5 release and specifically promoted the first single. The commercials informed viewers that the album was available for purchase in stores and through Amazon.com.

Unlike more traditional campaigns, Zephyr Media took something of a direct-response approach to the media buying, although it did not have a target number of albums to sell and was not using a pure direct-response strategy.

"It was what we call corporate DR or hybrid, where the sales departments at the different labels decided to do some national and local advertising," Ms. Chase said. "Our goal was not to generate orders to a 1-800 number or a particular Web site, although Amazon was one virtual retailer featured."

Based on changes in the music industry, negotiating the best rates is now a common approach to media buying.

"This is not really a shining example of direct response television or DRTV commercials, " Ms. Chase said. "It just kind of evolved that way as it basically ran heavy for a two-week period."

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