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Marketing Lessons from Guns N’ Roses

by amol238

“This is to all the Guns N’ Roses Fans who stuck with us thro all the s*** ” – Axl Rose

I’ve been a hardcore Guns N’ Roses fan and I am joined by millions around the globe who await their new album in 17 years..Yeah, you read it right 17 years.

By the time the new GNR album, “Chinese Democracy” hits stores on Sunday, it will have been 17 years, two months and seven days since the last time GNR fans had a chance to buy a CD of new material.

When Axl finally emerged from the Rip Van Wrinkle studio he would have found that the world had changed.

Here’s what I mean :

– When the bands album “Use your illusion” 1 and 2 were released on September 17 th 1991, an unknown band called Nirvana was getting ready to launch an album called ‘Nevermind’ the following week. In other words Nirvana became a cult band , lead singer Kurt Cobain peaked, died and became nostalgia between the two GNR album releases.

– The Google guys were still 8 years before they met.

– Micheal Jackson was considered a good investment. Sony had just signed him to a contract for worth 1 billion.

– The biggest game system was SEGA, Sony’s playstation was still three years in the future. 

– Apple was 12 years away from making the iPod.

– There were no digital downloads, no Facebook , no Myspace, no American Idol.

– The world’s population was 5.7 billion. Its now 6.3 billion.

– The band itself split with Axl Rose controlling the rights to the Gun N Roses brand.

– It was still 10 years before 9/11 change the world.

– There was a brutal recession in US and across the globe as stock markets tanked, partly because fighting a War in Iraq.

 Ok, so not everything has changed.

What’s this got to do with an Internet Marketing Blog ?
– Chinese Democracy is an album that Axl Rose has been working on for over 10 years, it has become the most expensive albums of all times. After so many delays , leaks , band link up changes it’s hard to believe that this album will ever be released.

But we can certainly learn some marketing lessons from this one.

– Building anticipation works :

The anticipate build up used for this is worth mentioning, instead of waiting until the entire album was finished, the band strategically made announcements when the album was in its early stages, when new band members were found, and made good use of live shows to preview select few songs. If this was not done strategically the band would not not impacted the anticipation build up for 17 years.

– Leveraging Technology and Internet to build anticipation :

No better marketing tool can be used than the internet to leak song footage online. While this was strategically done it would have been a disaster for the band if this was not supervised and authorized intentionally.

– Keeping the trust factor intact :

Most marketing companies go too far in anticipating the trust of their customers in the initial phase of the campaign. You need to know when to  stop and when to go. I am sure that most GNR fans had given up hope waiting in anticipation about the release of this new album. 

– Getting attention of the media and the marketplace :

The hype and anticipation of the release of the album ensured that they were always in the news. Back in March, the Dr Pepper people said they would offer free fizzy stuff to everyone in US if Axl managed to launch the album in 2008. Back then the likelihood of see the release of Chinese Democracy on the shelves seemed remote.

But now the day has arrived and the company is not welching. Tony Jacobs, VP Marketing of Dr Pepper, said in a statement :”Dr Pepper’s on us ”

Beginning this Sunday ( 23 rd November ) at 12.01 am, coupons for a free 20 ounce soda will be available for 24 hours on Dr Pepper’s website. Coupons will be honoured until 28 th February 2008.

The long awaited Chinese Democracy drops at Best Buy stores November 23 rd 2008 , but you can listen to the preview songs right here  at Myspace.com/gunsnroses

Its received a record smashing 25 listens per second, Guns N’ Roses have not only completed their comeback, but they have had the largest ‘listening party’ in the world.

The release makes me feel nostalgic.

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Michael Henry November 21, 2008 - 6:31 pm

Good to know about the Dr. Pepper promotion. Marking the calandar for that one. Loves me some free beverage.

Michael Henrys last blog post..Lifestyle: Current Monday to Friday Schedule

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog November 22, 2008 - 8:19 am

Hi Michael : Thanks for commenting, unfortunatly they aren’t running this promotion in Canada. It would be worthwhile to see how many GNR fans actually redeem the coupons.

ZKs last blog post..Tips to make a Blog Contest successful

Poker November 22, 2008 - 1:00 pm

Yeah, Sega was the most popular console but where is SEGA now?

Taris J November 22, 2008 - 2:43 pm

I haven’t even gotten a chance to listen to the album yet let alone check out the promotion!! I’m behind the times here lol

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NDN Humor November 23, 2008 - 9:21 am

Thanks for the heads up. It made me follow-up on a question I had this week or last, I saw on Letterman a band that looked GNR. Looked like a tribute band. Slash still had the long fro do and top hat. Axl was stuck in a time warp, and they were singing “Welcome To The Jungle”. After doing a quick google, found David Letterman was doing a tribute to tribute bands week and GNR was one of them.

NDN Humors last blog post..Commod Cheese On My Frybread

ZK November 23, 2008 - 7:24 pm

Hi Poker : You are right, there is no SEGA anymore. The markets been flooded by WII, Nintendo DS and Playstation.

Hi Taris J : Its an awesome album, if you are a GNR fan its a must have 🙂 thanks for commenting here.

NDN Humor : I missed that , I would have loved to see the tribute GNR band perform on Letterman 🙂 thanks for commenting.

JR @ Internet Marketing Do-Follow Blog November 24, 2008 - 7:02 am

Great analogy ZK, I love GNR too and I think Axl is one of the geniuses of music!

JRs last blog post..144 Do-Follow Forums – Categorized by Niche and PR

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog November 24, 2008 - 3:13 pm

Hi JR : Thanks for commenting, I am glad there is a GNR following on the blog 🙂 the new album is awesome 🙂

ZKs last blog post..Tips to make a Blog Contest successful

MLDina November 25, 2008 - 9:53 am

I love the marketing-music analysis! It’s great to see a different take on online marketing, and success stories that are indirectly related to the industry. I can’t believe how long it’s been since they’ve released an album, especially with respect to the list you’ve mentioned. It’s strange to think of the world pre-iPod and post Michael Jackson popularity.

MLDinas last blog post..MarketLeverage TV 11/24/08 Your Source For Affiliate News

ZK@Internet Marketing Blog November 29, 2008 - 11:33 am

Hi Dina : Good to see Market Leverage here. I am glad you liked the post 🙂

ZKs last blog post..The Power of Twitter & Live Blogging during the Mumbai Blasts

Andrei Stanciu December 23, 2008 - 11:10 am

Guns n Roses has being my all time fav, got to check out their new smart marketing for the new album

Blog for Bloggers December 26, 2008 - 9:01 pm

Yet another nice write up.
In it you talked about “building anticipation” or “Hype” but I think this worked for them because they were so well known when they started hyping it up. So my question is, do you think that some one fairly unknown could build up hype like they did? (doesn’t have to be in the music industry)

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ZK@Internet Marketing Blog December 27, 2008 - 6:19 pm

That’s a great question, it left me thinking for a while. I don’t think a new band or even a well know company could have been able to build up the hype and anticipation for so long. But we have seen it happening in the music industry so many times. A lot of classic bands have made great come back after years of not making any music.

ZKs last blog post..14 Thoughts Leaders on Social Media in 2009

Ann @ Work From Home March 8, 2009 - 1:16 pm

Nice analogy and parallel, makes total sense, thanks ZK

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Orville April 11, 2009 - 7:54 am

GNR contributed greatly their songs in music industry, and they are one of my favorite music band of all time.

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bep visser April 18, 2009 - 12:34 pm

love your blog, always love to read them. I am a regular visitor

Smarti@Free Midi May 6, 2009 - 7:08 am

Guns ‘n’ Roses is one of my favorite Bands. Thanks for the post! Nice to read one of your posts again.

Rob@Online Poker Rakeback May 18, 2009 - 1:14 am

Wow what freakin’ rock have I been living under? Well, I suppose I ought to crawl out from under it and give their CD a listen.

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Marry Goodman June 8, 2009 - 7:14 am

GNR is my fav band , they have pulled this marketing act well..

Joel@rockconcerttshirtsstore August 21, 2009 - 9:50 am

Hey, I just saw the movie “17 Again”, and I thought it was pretty cool the way the main characters mentioned Guns N Roses, when they were reminiscing about their high school years.

Anyway, I wonder what prompted the band to get back together after 17 years. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about them in the (new and old) media in the near future.

Guns n Roses T Shirts

Casey@Excessive Sweating September 9, 2009 - 6:43 am

That’a alot of interesting facts you collected. I was a GNR fan many many years ago. Things have really have changed….

kitchen taps September 15, 2009 - 5:50 am

Its good post regarding GNR.

Jay@Self Hypnosis October 15, 2009 - 1:01 am

I like the “hype and aniticipate” way of marketing but to drag it over so long may have actually diminish the full potential of the release. Yeah the internet sure helps but I sometimes wonder if it would have equally the same impact when many of us have still been hardcore about GNR (which I gave up as I grew up.)

Oyunu Oyna January 28, 2010 - 9:14 am

Thanks for the heads up. It made me follow-up on a question I had this week or last, I saw on Letterman a band that looked GNR. Looked like a tribute band. Slash still had the long fro do and top hat. Axl was stuck in a time warp, and they were singing “Welcome To The Jungle”. After doing a quick google, found David Letterman was doing a tribute to tribute bands week and GNR was one of them.

Gilly September 2, 2010 - 5:44 pm

I see Axl Rose and the boys got bottled off stage at Dublin – those annoying music-lovers get everywhere LOL!

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