starpolish

Ready For Action!
A Case Study in Creative Promotional Tools

Like all bands, my music partner Gene Harper and I began recording homemade tapes in our tiny studio apartment in NYC. We had intentions of getting a record deal with this demo that we were feverishly making. Once completed, we went to Staples and bought cassette labels, tape, and mailing envelopes. We then hurried back and labeled each envelope with the name of the A&R person we hoped would listen to our brilliant creation. We sent our tapes off and gave them the usual two weeks before following up with phone calls. Not one of them was returned, and eventually we got tired of being pests and moved on to making more music. One day while sitting in a panel discussion at the Winter Music Conference, I was suddenly struck with an idea-- in order to get our music heard we needed a different plan and one that involved a different approach than the U.S. Post Office. After chatting with several different A&R folks from different labels about how to get them our music, I realized the incredible amount of stuff that they receive. Most of it ends up in the trash and is never listened to at all. We felt our package had to be intriguing and should stand out from all of the rest. We returned to New York and began to scheme up our new approach to getting heard. We designed a small cereal box that would contain a cassette tape. The cereal box had our name on it and all kinds of stuff like "fortified with vitamin bass", and "great tasty breaks," etc. We invented a crazy cartoon rabbit character and put him on the front. We took the files that we created in QuarkXPress to a local copy shop and printed them out on the digital color copier. Each color copy cost $1.49, so we ganged them up two on a page to save on costs. We then cut out color copies that we printed at the cut marks and pasted them onto stiff poster board. This gave the boxes a sturdier form and made them easier to fold at the edges to create a box top. The cassette tape was sealed up inside and the small cereal box went into a large box full of packing peanuts. Each cereal box cost around $5 to make and an additional $3 for shipping via the U.S. Postal Service. In all we made about 20 of these and sent them out.
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