Nineteen-year-old Lisa Beam tagged along with her boyfriend late last summer to ogle motor scooters at the local Yamaha dealer.
Beam, who delivers pizzas full time in her hometown of Garden City, S.C., noticed a sweepstakes entry form. She filled it out, plopped it in a bin, and forgot about it quicker than you can say pepperoni with mushrooms.
Until a few weeks ago. That's when she received a phone call saying that she had won the grand prize--an appearance in a rock video.
Although the featured rock group has yet to be announced, the video will be filmed in California within the next six months.
"I've never been to California before," said Beam, giggling at her good fortunes in a telephone interview. "But this is perfect. I watch MTV practically 24 hours a day."
The sweepstakes, which Yamaha sponsored to introduced its low-end, $599 motor scooter, signals a new twist in a field that is itself a relative newcomer in the promotion world: pitching products through rock music. Within that genre, promises of cameo appearances in rock videos have recently emerged as big-time product marketing tools--especially with the teen set. Max Factor, the Stamford, Conn.-based makeup giant, is also sponsoring a rock video contest with financing from Diet Coke and MTV.
This trend is music to the ears of advertising and music industry executives who project that marketing through rock music--a good chunk of it via rock videos--could evolve into a $100 million-plus industry within the next few years. Last year, Pepsi greatly upped the ante when it paid Michael Jackson nearly $15 million to dance and sing that Pepsi's his thing.
But already, the scene has shifted. Rock video appearances are "the hot draw right now," said Hope Henning, editor of Marketing Through Music, a New York-based newsletter published by Rolling Stone. "It goes directly to teens--without a lot of waste."
Indeed, Yamaha is targeting the 15- to 22-year-old market with its new motor scooter. The headline over its entry forms in popular teen magazines baited youth with the promise, "Yamaha's new Razz scooter comes with an exclusive part. A role in a rock video."
Nearly 15,000 sweepstakes entries were received, said Larry Turkheimer, sales promotion director at Abert, Newhoff & Burr, a Los Angeles ad agency that represents Yamaha. Max Factor is spending more than $2 million to promote a sweepstakes whose winner will also appear in a rock video. More than 50,000 magazine entry blanks were returned--the highest response for any contest in the company's history, said Sharon Le Van, vice president for cosmetics marketing.
Max Factor still hasn't announced what group will be featured in the video, but that has not dimmed contestants' enthusiasm. "It really doesn't matter who is in it," said Le Van. "The kids just want a chance to be in a rock video."
Brew to Win Hearts of Trojan Faithful
A couple of USC business grads were shooting the breeze nine months ago, eager to create a new product that could help them cash in on their quick-to-spend college cohorts. It had to be unique--yet something that the college crowd would buy over and over again.
"Pencils just didn't cut the mustard," said 25-year-old Christopher Speer. So he turned to his buddy, 23-year-old Sean MacPherson, for an idea. "How about a beer?" MacPherson proposed. Not just any beer, mind you. But a beer that would make USC students sit up on their bar stools and order. Like, say, Trojan Classic Beer?
The two partners pooled $26,000, and found a Wisconsin brewer who specially brewed their first 1,500 cases. They designed a bottle and logo. And advertised on sweat shirts.
At about $2.50 a bottle, the beer was recently introduced at bars around USC. "Except for Corona, we've never had a new beer sell like this," said Shari Claire, manager of the 32nd St. Cafe & Saloon. Indeed, Bruin Beer may be next on tap, Speer said. "Maybe even Texas Longhorn Lite."
But perturbed that the Trojan name and colors have been slapped on a beer bottle, USC may take legal action, said Stephen Auer, a USC lawyer. "If it was some other product besides beer, we'd consider a licensing agreement," Auer said.
They would not be the first. Perhaps more in keeping with Nebraska's most famous crop, the University of Nebraska recently struck a licensing agreement with a localized brand of cereal--Cornhusker Corn Flakes. And the prize in each box? What else, but trading cards with pictures of the football crazed-school's team?
Magazine Cover Art Achieves New Status
Don't ask Marc Friedland to paint the town red. He'll tell you that's kid's stuff.
Today Mark and his associates at Artafax, a Los Angeles design firm, completed a massive hand-painting project that is surely a first: 24,000 magazine covers. That's right--each magazine cover, one-of-a-kind modern art.