Media: Strategy Analysis - How to top the chart in just 36 hours

Brand: Eminem - Curtain Call Client: Polydor Brief: Launch Eminem's latest album, Curtain Call Target audience: Anyone under the age of 40 Budget: Undisclosed AGENCIES Media: MediaCom Creative: Orla Lee, head of artist development, Polydor PR: Sundraj Sreenivasan, head of press, Polydor Poster buying: MediaCom, Posterscope


Eminem is arguably the world's biggest music star. When, in November last year, he announced his retirement from the industry and the release of a greatest hits album, Curtain Call, there was huge expectation from the client to ensure it achieved its sales potential, but in a style fitting for Eminem.

MediaCom had major hurdles to overcome. A global release date of 2 December was decided upon just two weeks beforehand. Releasing the album on a Friday meant it would lose four days' sales against other albums in the UK that week. No single was released before the album, depriving it of awareness through radio airplay. MediaCom needed to reconnect the consumer with Eminem and communicate the release date as quickly as possible. A 60-second ad running across all possible channels - the biggest roadblock ever in the UK - was the key to achieving a number-one album in such a short time.


- TV: Three ten-second teaser ads ran from ten days before the launch - each featuring a track from a different point in his career - before the mainstream ad on 1 December.

The 60-second roadblock, featuring nine of Eminem's most famous tracks, aired at 9pm the night before release. This maximised sales in the 36 hours that counted towards the first-week chart. Breaks were aligned to reach 16 million people in one hit. The 9pm slot targeted audiences around I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! and a Channel 4 documentary about Madonna.

To maximise sales into Christmas, a two-minute ad was developed that showcased all his hits. It was used in key spots - such as big football games - to replace the radio airplay that would have been achieved from the release of a single and remind the consumer why they love Eminem.

- Outdoor: To work alongside the TV strategy, MediaCom had to co-ordinate all other media. Everything had to fit with the size and impact of the artist and the album. The theme was carried through to outdoor with a super-size banner on the M4, along with 96-sheets and golden squares.

- Press: Full-page ads in The Sun, The Times and The Guardian on the day of the release, double-page spreads in music titles and a dummy cover for the music trade title Music Week backed the launch.


In the 36 hours after the launch, Curtain Call sold 110,000 copies - topping the chart and outselling artists such as Robbie Williams, Westlife, Il Divo and Madonna. The album stayed at number one until Christmas and to date has sold more than one million copies.

THE VERDICT - Mark Holden executive planning director, PHD

I'll put this one down as a modern-day example of good old-fashioned media planning. Why? First, there was no mention of a DAL, Bluetooth etc. Second, the case-study focuses on sensible media channels, all used in very sensible ways.

The planner on this account and/or writer of this case-study is either unaware of all of the communication opportunities available or, as I am inclined to suspect, pragmatic enough to realise that the job required here is simply one of announcement and that any "bells and whistles" would probably result in unnecessarily high cost-per-thousand communication.

When we need to shift perceptions or communicate to an uninterested audience, innovative, and therefore more expensive, techniques are often necessary.

The task here is not perception change or convincing people to buy an album they don't want. Crudely speaking, we just need to let them know it's coming out and give them the date.

The core audience of Eminem enthusiasts would probably buy the album anyway. This group just needed to be told, once. But the team needed to cast the net wider, to include the outer audience. This outer audience is likely to purchase if you can force them to take notice - often surprisingly difficult. Therefore, a bit of impact was needed. This was achieved through placing different TV ads together, and using two-minute ad breaks and high-impact outdoor sites. Press extended the coverage. Perhaps full-pages were unnecessary, as the focus for press should have been the core audience - the theory of selective perception suggests this core audience would be likely to notice even very small fractional ads.

The money saved could have been used for a small radio campaign, which could have reached people who were not necessarily interested in the message.

But this is mere detail. The main point is that this was a standard but realistic media plan.

In today's industry, we often see unnecessary media innovation for campaigns that require something much simpler. We should reserve our creative energies for when the task demands it. At worst, this paper could make us feel a bit flat about media planning. At best, it could remind us that we all work within the marketing investment industry, not the UK arts council.

SCORE: 3 out of 5.

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