CHICAGO -- The Country Music Association, Nashville, Tenn., is offering brand marketers "star power." A Fourth of July CMA-themed freestanding-insert event includes television and print exposure, guest star appearances, a national sweepstakes and exposure in supermarkets around the country. Under the direction of Marketing Events, an affiliate of Frankel & Co. here, the promotion is designed to build consumer awareness and trade support for brand marketers through a 56 million-circulation FSI. It will be distributed via Valassis Inserts June 30 in newspapers nationwide. "This is going to be a really big event," said Michael Balousek, director of sales and marketing for Marketing Events. "The CMA is a great organization to work with. Their purpose is solely to promote country music, which is now extremely popular in this country."
Balousek also pointed out that the demographics of people who listen to country music are very much in tune with supermarket shoppers. According to syndicated research, 53% of country music listeners are women, with 64% between the ages of 25 and 54. Nearly two in three (64%) report earned incomes of $35,000 annually.
"The people who are buying laundry detergent and consumer package goods are listening to country music," Balousek said. "They are also coupon users."
Valassis In-store Marketing, Livonia, Mich., will set up one two-week cycle of aisle electronic signs in more than 5,000 grocery stores to pre-promote the FSI and one two-week cycle to feature products of participating manufacturers when the FSI drops.
The program includes a co-op magazine ad to pre-promote the event. It will run in the June issue of Country American magazine and feature the products of the participating brand marketers. The same type of promotional spots will air nationally on TNN a few days before the event.
To create excitement, a country music artist will be available to each participating manufacturer for a "guest appearance" at a function or promotion of their choice, either in-store or at a sales meeting, trade meeting or as a consumer sweepstakes prize. Or the manufacturer may choose 10 tickets to a concert, including backstage passes to meet the country music artist.
Participation in the promotion also offers brand marketers the exclusive rights to cross-promote with a record label company and feature a proprietary consumer offer, such as sending in Universal Product Code labels to receive a discount for purchase of a certain performer's CD or tape.
"The record labels bring tremendous resources to the table," said Balousek. "They have extensive memorabilia and merchandise to give away that you can't find anywhere else. Plus, we think there's a big perceived value from the association with a country music star. Country music is wholesome and that's good for a brand's image."
To increase readership and interest in the FSI pages, they will feature a continuity strip with country music trivia. "The idea is to get consumers to read the insert page-to-page, to increase the possibility of them clipping the coupon and to read the brand's message," Balousek said. The insert also provides entry blanks for a national sweepstakes wherein entrants can win one of many valuable prizes, including a VIP trip to Nashville to view the making of a country music video. "It's very important for country music to be aligned with major brands and consumer goods because their markets are so similar," said Rick Murray, marketing manager at CMA.
"Country music is the most popular and most listened to format of music today. An alliance between country music and brand marketers can help marketers reach consumers and increase product sales. It's a win-win situation because brand marketers can also help bring country music to new audiences," he said.