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Party hosts are chosen from the pool of people who sign up via the Come Round website to host a specific party on a certain date that usually coincides with a launch from the artist. They are then sent a box containing promotional material such as posters and balloons and often discount vouchers for merchandise and must invite nine guests to their parties.
On the day of the party, participants are invited to post pictures of themselves to the relevant Facebook page, with the most ’liked’ picture winning a prize. This could be exclusive content or even a meeting with the star involved. All participants are then emailed a survey the next day which Come Round uses to create an insight report to send back to the brands involved.
Polydor Records marketing manager Kelly Ridgway says the recent Lady Gaga parties were a good fit for the artist because of the way she already nurtures relationships with her fans through her prolific Tweeting.
“It’s fine to only focus on traditional above-the-line activity but it’s these details that sustain fan loyalty. This is fundamental to why Gaga is so successful,” she claims.
Home parties provide an additional platform for music marketers like Ridgway to promote new artists.
“We are working with a new pop band that has done a cover of a Gaga song. We put a fanzine about them into the Lady Gaga party packs as it is a platform to introduce them to the right demographic,” she explains.
Ridgway says she needed to be mindful of existing brand deals Lady Gaga has. With a longer lead time, she would have approached Polaroid and make-up range MAC, brands that Lady Gaga has already worked with, to provide material for the parties.
She suggests the home party model could work as a long-term strategy for brands if the format remains flexible to suit the requirements of individual marketers.
Come Round’s Harris says FMCG brands such as Asda, Fanta and Sodastream have provided party pack ingredients to promote new products, but the next step will be setting up parties for them too. He gives the example of running food parties for brands such as Betty Crocker, and combining them with new music releases to maintain the appeal of exclusivity.
Events next year such as the 2012 Olympic Games and the Queen’s Jubilee will also be occasions to build parties around, Harris adds.