My own promotional ideas are limited. A little common sense goes a long way. I wouldn't promote a "Free Knife" Night at a sporting event, or a "Free Beer" Night at anything. Not even a wedding. Gotta keep costs down. (Also applying common sense, ladies drink free every night. Is there any other way to get them to be nice to me?)
So when I heard Prince was promoting his new album by giving it away free to subscribers to a newspaper in England, I thought, "Man, this is an idea with legs." No one buys music anymore anyhow! No one likes music either! Not whole albums or whole songs. Just hit shuffle on your iPod and catch 30 seconds and it's like listening to mouthwash commercials all day long!
But you still have to get rid of these CDs with all their stupid artwork and credits. So, crazy me, I'm giving away the tricks of the trade to boost sales for the entire industry. While Prince will be our inaugural "Trendsetter," it shouldn't be long before all labels begin foisting their junk on a hapless public!
Hardware Stores: This is what we in the biz call "Thinking Outside The Box." Most people don't go to record stores anymore. Mostly because there aren't any. But even if there were, chances are most people wouldn't shop there. So in order to expand your audience, you need to go to the people. People with money. So soup kitchens are out. But Home Improvement stores are in. While people purchase travertine tile and marble countertops to make their kitchen acceptable, they get a free Prince CD for watching the 5-minute promotional video on hardwood flooring!
Bingo Night: Drive by church on a Sunday and half the lot is empty. But stop by on Friday Night and it's full capacity because it's Bingo Night!! You say these people don't listen to music. You say they don't know own a CD player and if they did they wouldn't know how to work it. And I say, who cares? I bet they serve prune juice to their guests! They probably need coasters! CDs make my-t-fine coasters at that! Now artists don't have to worry if their music is any good. They just have to make the artwork appealing and remember to put their name on the actual CD disc!
Voting Booths: Voter turnout has been declining since forever. Every year we hear how not enough people vote. It's obvious why. There's no incentive. You don't get anything out of pushing a little lever that someone else eventually miscounts. But imagine how many people would turn out if they knew they'd be getting something for free! Sir, ma'am, did you just vote? On behalf of America, here's a new Prince CD to take home as our way of saying thanks for being a proud American. And, yes, don't worry, your Jury Duty notice will be in the mail before the year is out. But that's pure coincidence.
Jury Duty: Who doesn't do a little dance upon receiving notice that they've been picked for the joys of jury duty? Different states compensate you in different ways, but none of them pay you anything close to a living wage - and the magazines they stick you with in the waiting room usually date back to 1985. So, what better way of saying thanks than handing out free promotional CDs of bands no one would rightfully pay for? Again, makes a great coaster, folks!
Door to Door: There's nothing like old-fashioned salesmanship. Willy Loman will never die in vain if record companies pick up where vacuum salesman left off. We're all used to those Bible-Thumpers in those crisp white shirts and ties knocking on doors in 100- degree heat oblivious to the elements, why not throw them some CDs to hand out along the way? Remember all those ads in magazines where you get 6 albums for a penny? We just got rid of the stinking penny!