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#8. Virgin Record's Ben Harper Fan Campaign

MarketingSherpa Summary:
Viral campaigns targeting music fans aren't anything unusual, but we were impressed by the exceptional average site visit -- 24 minutes! (To put this in context, we've heard other entertainment sites brag proudly about visit times of 8-10 minutes.) Plus, we liked the fact that the site linked to ecommerce -- so many other entertainment sites fail on that front.

Agency - Maven Networks
Client/company - Virgin Records
Brand campaign was conducted for - Ben Harper
Launch date of campaign - Fall 2003
Target audience/demographic - Ben Harper Fan

Campaign Goal:
Virgin Records wanted to promote one of its leading artists, Ben Harper, and his hit single, Diamonds on the Inside. Since Ben's fan base was online savvy and very passionate about his music, Virgin wanted to offer a compelling video experience with an easy mechanism for sharing among friends, creating a truly unique viral broadband application.

In a first for the music industry, the application (powered by Maven) let fans watch Ben Harper videos in full screen, DVD quality from their desktops, a much better experience than watching the videos on TV. The application offered incentives to users, in the form of up to twenty-two unreleased Ben Harper audio tracks, for sharing their experiences virally among friends - one of the most powerful forms of online marketing. Concert schedules and ticketing information, as well as CD/DVD purchase offers, were seamlessly integrated into the music video experience. Maven allowed Virgin Records to track in real time the success of each video and audio offering, as well as the number of fans that shared the application with their friends.

Seed Strategy:
The call to action on the Ben Harper web site was to get access to unreleases tracks by installing the application and sending it to friends. Once inside the application, the viral mechanism was clear and tempted users with the names of tracks that were available for every five people they told about the application.

Buzz Generated:
Ben Harper fans blogged about the application and Billboard Magazine awarded it with best Use of Technology for a Music Marketing Campaign:

Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
The results of the Ben Harper experience were as follows: "X Exceptional experiences keep music fans engaged, spending more than 24 minutes per session online. "X High levels of interest keep fans coming back, returning for an average of 5.2 sessions during the campaign. "X More than 37% of these users shared their experiences with an average of 3 friends. "X More than 28%, 12% and 8% clicked-through to buy the DVD/CD combo, visit the Web site for news and merchandise or enter the sweepstakes, respectively.

Biggest Learning:
What surprised Virgin was the power of the viral application - it made them realize how dedicated Ben Harper fans were.

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