If I'm being honest, I have no clue how a record player works. Growing up, I would look at older models used as decoration in my uncle's den. Now, they're in the living rooms of my trendiest friends and have become a welcomed guest at any get-together.
According to a study by Statista, vinyl record sales have been steadily increasing since the mid-2000s, with 900k records sold in 2006 compared to 16.8m in 2018. How can today's advertisers, marketers and brands take advantage of this continued growth?
As with anything that was popular at the time, record players became a medium for advertising with the advent of flexi discs. These thin vinyl sheets were affordable to produce and playable on a standard record machine—a staple in every American living room. Introduced in the States in the late '60s, this marketing tactic was used to reward Beatles' Fan Club members, introduce the world to the Songs of the Humpback Whale, and even to overcome the censorship of western music in the Soviet Union.
Have It Your Way...For Life
In the late 1980s McDonald's printed nearly 80 million flexi discs and distributed them in newspapers, magazines and in stores to help launch their latest hit, The Menu Song. Following the success of the Big Mac Song, McDonald's wanted to shine a light on ALL of their menu items and flexi discs were the best way to get this new earworm into the homes of millions. In a true Willie Wonka moment, one of these flexi discs gave a lucky winner a chance to win $1,000,000 by calling a phone number revealed at the end of the two-minute album. Now think of that in the days of the three-second skippable ad!
A Bonus to the B-Side
Modern day musicians are still capitalizing on the nostalgic elements of the flexi disc, incorporating them into their new album launches. It's important to keep your target market in mind when considering a promotion like this (i.e. Nickelodeon shouldn't be launching JoJo Siwa's next digital download with a flexi disc). Musicians Foo Fighters, Tame Impala, Deerhoof and Jack White have all added flexi discs into their marketing mix for releases.
Flex Your Marketing Muscles
Will this new (old) medium have legs? In the '70s and '80s flexi discs were everywhere, from your magazines to your mailbox to your cereal boxes. Will they make their comeback as record players once again become a household staple? Flexi discs can still be made and run at about $1,150 for 2,000 labeled postcards—for context, that's about the same cost as printing a tri-fold brochure.
What are ways that you can envision adding audio to your marketing mix?
Ryan Scott Shenefelt is not that innocent. Just take a look at the music charts from his impressionable years. Britney Spears, Spice Girls, N'Sync, the Backstreet Boys. The list goes on—and so does his addiction to toxic bubblegum pop.
Fueled by heavy servings of 3D Jalapeño Doritos, AHH Real Monsters, and memories of the glamorous micro-mullet from his youth, Ryan realizes that the best things come from a place of uniqueness.