Who says you have to terrorize an entire city to drive buzz around a marketing campaign? Kudos to John Booth at Crains Cleveland Business for pointing out this article on CNN.com. Cleveland's own, and Nine Inch Nails lead singer, Trent Reznor is rumored to be behind a cryptic marketing campaign which has used USB drives left in restrooms, phone message recordings of songs and rogue web sites to stir up fans.
Nine Inch Nails' new album 'Year Zero' is due in stores and the band is using a mysterious, grassroots campaign to drive interest. The band isn't saying much at this point, their fans are driving the conversation. The discovery marketing tactics started with a T-shirt which fans realized led to a URL. Once on the site, fans were pointed to other locations, criss-crossing the Web to uncover the next clue.
Some of the site URLs are:
- www.anotherversionofthetruth.com - click on the image and drag your mouse
Fans also found cleverly placed USB memory sticks in restrooms at European NIN concerts that contained new, unreleased tracks. The files spread like wildfire though email and peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Yet another T-shirt pointed to a Cleveland phone number that played a recording of one of the tracks.
This goes more to prove that the group understands marketing and their fans. They're trying to reach people in new ways using a mix of promotion, technology and guerilla marketing. Fans get to experience the band's personality, interact in new and more personal ways and get to connect with the band before the general public. No matter what you think of their music, they really get the marketing side and their fans benefit in the end.
UPDATE: Spike at Brains on Fire has a humorous take on the RIAA's response to this campaign. Left hand, meet right hand.