Monday, September 10, 2012

'70s punk marketing meets social media

I've written before, on more than one blog, how Chris Frantz, legendary drummer in Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, is my social media marketing hero.

To summarize, while big brands continue to screw up the basics of building a community, Chris simply joined Facebook as himself, accepted all friend requests, and let his network build through word-of-mouth among music fans.

To quote myself:
This was no fanpage, though. It was (and is) just another down-to-earth Facebook presence where the mature rock star shares pictures of his family, his dog, classic music videos, pretty actresses — along with casual updates on Tom Tom Club‘s reunion tour and upcoming album.
Well, that album is out now (at least on iTunes; vinyl launches tomorrow). And it's getting a good reception online.

The opening track is a nostalgic look at the 1970s music scene in New York City that birthed legends like The Ramones, Blondie, Television, and many more, including Talking Heads. The album cover is also a tribute to DIY punk design, from the days of those bands' street-level self promotion.

In a tradition that continues today, local indie bands and their friends paper every available surface with posters like this advertising their next gig. And that's exactly how Chris is promoting the new album. 

A few days ago, he reached out to his Facebook community with a downloadable poster version of the album cover (which I love) and the message:
Hi Friends ! Download this flier and print out and post it on your favorite telephone pole or wall. Take a photo of it and tag me here. There will be prizes for our favorites! 
It's just like asking your friends to help with street-level promotion, except this message is now everywhere:

I happily added an Ottawa shot into the mix (top). You can see them all at Chris' FB timeline.

It's fun, it's authentic, and it's participatory. My marketing friends, this is how it is done.


  1. Hello Tom,

    I'd like to thank you for championing my social media runnings. You help people notice things, and you know that can't be bad.

    Cheers and warm regards,

    Chris Frantz

    1. Thanks, Chris.

      Let me take this opportunity to mention that your new EP is my soundtrack of the now.

  2. Now that is how you use social media in an ingenious, radical way. Facebook gets so much traffic in the cyberspace. But you can’t just dive in there and market yourself. There has to be originality, subtlety. You have to find a specific kind of traffic, a targeted kind, to be able to get a good conversion rate. Most of all, you have to engage with people. You have to let them act.

  3. You’re definitely correct. This is how social media marketing must be done! It’s true that social media paved the way to reach a large number of audiences with half the effort of traditional marketing strategies. But, when strategies are poorly implanted, the campaign appears to be unnatural and disengaging. This is very inspirational. Thank you for sharing this, Tom!

  4. It is eternally cool that Chris Frantz found this post and replied to it. It also shows that he really does care about how people are impacted by social media and vice versa. This is something that online advertisers should always keep in mind. Chris’ efforts are a great example of two things: the simple things really do matter; and true interaction with people (customers, fans, clients, etc.) is the key ingredient. What he had his fans do was fun for them, and that’s why his online efforts are such a success.

  5. Exactly, Tom! Being personal and intimate with your audience just makes so much sense in the marketing world. This approach is frequently overlooked merely because some marketers just mind the sales and not the audience.