Band comes up with
unique way to connect with fans, pimp the new album and, oh yeah, make some
By Fred Mills
In today’s “not sure if we were exactly waiting to hear this
news” news, the New York Times is
reporting that classic rock gimps REO Speedwagon is unveiling a genuinely novel
twist on traditional advertising. They’ve turned themselves into a video game –
but before all you Guitar Hero and Rock Band doofuses out there rush out to
Best Buy to be the first on your block to play “Keep On Loving You,” “Take It
On The Run” or “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (whoah… just typing those song titles
resurrects long-dormant teenage memories of Boone’s Farm wine, cheap weed and
back-seat gropes…), read on.
REO has a new album, Not
So Silent Night: Christmas With REO Speedwagon, and the game, REO Speedwagon: Find Your Own Way Home,
is aimed at promoting the album, as opposed to re-priming the pump for sales of
the group’s none-too-tiny back catalog. Although if the buzz surrounding the
new record casts a halo effect, nobody will be complaining.
The plotline of the game concerns REO vocalist Kevin
Cronin’s “disappearance,” so presumably you, the gamer, is trying to track him
down (depending on your mindset, for high musical crimes and misdemeanors
against rock ‘n’ roll hairstyles). In the process you might come across a
so-called “golden ticket” in the game as the band will be offering 20 prize
packages for a 2010 concert.
According to NYT, the online game was created by digital
agency Curious Sense and “joins the ranks of online video games sponsored by or
created for marketers. Among them are DQ Tycoon, for Dairy Queen, and The
Office, inspired by the sitcom “The Office.” Starting today, Dec. 2, fans will
be able to download the game from various sites including BigFishGames.com, MSN
Games and Yahoo games, at a price tag of $8.00 that allows you to play a
session that can last up to 10 hours, with the first hour offered free. You
also get a coupon code good for 25% off the cost of the new album.
“We build digital experiences beyond a typical Web site,
which offer long, interactive times between the content and the consumer,” Adam
Blumenthal, president/chief executive at Curious Sense in Durham, N.C., told
This, of course, may mark a milestone in the modern
advertising era. Instead of having to sit and squirm through a 30-second or
1-minute TV or website ad while waiting for a show to come on or a program to
load, consumers will essentially be paying eight bucks to sit and, er, interact
with a ten-hour ad.
Meanwhile, the game clearly represents a potentially
lucrative new revenue stream – for musicians, entertainers and more. Fans, of
course, are nuts, and they’ll fork over all kinds of dough to feel like they’re
getting something cool out of the fan-band relationship.
“It’s a great concept and we’re very happy to be involved,” Tom Consolo, at
REO’s management (Front Line of Los Angeles), told NYT. “You have your ups and
downs” as a band, so “you’re always looking to reach a broader audience. And
with the advent of the Internet, you can reach around the globe.”
Can’t fight this feeling, can ya!