It appears Weezer wants to be to YouTube just like Buddy Holly was to late 1950s radio. Ooh wee ooh, indeed.
And if the Los Angeles-based pop band's campaigns on the video site last year didn't get the attention of entertainment marketers, the one it launched yesterday likely will. To promote the release of its new album, "Hurley," Weezer reached out to 75 so-called YouTube celebrities (or "YouTubers") and invited them to include the band in one of their videos.
Ben Patterson, president of DashGo, which is helping run Weezer's digital campaign, said 14 of the YouTubers have created a video with the band so far. They include Dave Days, The Gregory Brothers, Danger (see that video below), Fred, Annoying Orange, Hot For Words, Magic Hugs, and U.S. of Anderson.
"We have a few putting the final touches on theirs," Patterson explained. "There will be a few more that go live late this week and early next week as well."
While the YouTubers were encouraged to include copy around the videos pushing Weezer's new album, he said, they were not required to do so. "We ask people to put a link to Weezer.com in their description field and mention that the new record is out today," Patterson said. "And we asked them to put [a template promotion for the album] at the end of their video as well if they were able to. But everyone could integrate how they wanted to. They had creative control."
For entertainment brands like Weezer, the DashGo president said creativity is at a premium when so many marketers are vying for attention in social media. "We face a cluttered marketplace right now where it's kind of hard to rise above all of the noise in the general social landscape," he said. "You have to find ways to break out of that. Our thoughts going into this were that these YouTubers are all really successful because they are a tight-knit community."
Weezer also benefitted from a free featured homepage slot on YouTube.com in a one-day-only appearance on Tuesday, including four videos above the fold under a "Music Tuesday" banner. Above the videos appeared this copy: "Weezer unveils their new video and enlists an army of YouTube celebs (Dave Days, Fred, Hot for Words and others!) to join them in a variety of shenanigans."
There were online rumblings that YouTube was using Weezer to showcase the Music Tuesday placement in order to attract paying marketers for that slot. Chris Dale, spokesperson for the Mountain View, CA-based video site, denied the claim.
"That's flatly incorrect," Dale said in an e-mail to ClickZ last evening. "We have not, nor do we have any plans to ever charge partners, etc. for appearing in the editorial spotlight on the homepage, or in the Music Tuesday section. Regarding the Weezer videos, we just thought it was a great example of a well-known band getting involved with some well-known YouTube stars so we chose to spotlight it both the [homepage] and in the Music Tuesday section."
Meanwhile, Weezer's newest YouTube effort follows up on the "Snuggie" commercial spoof it ran last fall, while accruing 60,000-plus views. It was followed up by the much more successful "Pork And Beans" video that garnered 2 million views. The "Pork And Beans" video also utilized YouTube celebrities; though they were spoofed by the four members of Weezer. That song was a single for the band's "Ratitude" album, which appeared to be a disappointment sales-wise. It debuted at No. 7 on Billboard magazine's charts, selling 66,000 copies in its first week. But that was only half as many albums as the band's previous album, "Weezer," sold in its first week the year before.
Perhaps that's why Weezer has taken the "Pork And Beans" idea and turned it inside-out for the "Hurley" campaign. Only time will tell if YouTube celebrities - rather than spoofed versions of them - will help the band fare better than its last go-around on the video site.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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