How EMI created a buzz about the Gorillaz album.
'Plastic Beach' was the third album from Gorillaz, the virtual band of fictional characters created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and comic book artist Jamie Hewlett. The album was inspired by the story of a huge floating island out in the middle of the South Pacific composed entirely of discarded plastic - and it was this concept that inspired a colourfully creative launch campaign.
The challenge was to make an ageing band still appear cool on a budget of a paltry AUS$3,000.
The campaign objectives were to achieve 35,000 album sales in the month of March, debut at #1 on the Australian charts and achieve gold album status by the end of March. The agency wanted to get key influencer music bloggers excited about the new album and share their passion with their audiences.
An artist was commissioned to create a unique set of plastic flowers, each made from bits and pieces of jettisoned household plastic. A week before the album launch, the flowers were delivered to 20 key music bloggers. They came with a package containing a USB stick loaded with a wealth of unique content, as well as the album itself. The bloggers also received a hand written note on musical notation paper from one of the band's characters, exhorting them to 'go and tell [their] bloggy minions.'.
There was a 70% response rate from bloggers, resulting in 8,000 social media impressions in the first week. Plastic Beach got to #1 in the Australian charts within a week of launch (the first country in which it did so). There were 35,675 sales of the album on CD and 7,188 digital sales, achieving gold album status as hoped.
The beauty of this campaign is that it amplified the experience of the album, rather than just describing it. As one blogger noted: "Hey, record labels, this is how you get us to write about your band!'