The Black Keys – Mixing Old & New Media to Amplify Engagement

Over the past year, while pursuing a master’s degree in integrated marketing, two things have become very clear to me:

  • An organization should not rely on social media marketing alone.
  • An organization should consider adding social media to its marketing strategy (if it hasn’t already).

As discussed by Dr. Jonathan Groves in a previous blog post, it’s not yet time to abandon traditional media.  However, organizations risk being left behind if they do not invest in new forms of marketing such as social media. Recently, I discovered what I believe to be an excellent example of an organization using old media (print) and new media (Facebook) to generate a high level of engagement with its customers.

The Black Keys are a blues/rock duo out of Akron, Ohio.  They tour incessantly and their hard work has paid off as they seem to have recently hit a tipping point in popularity. The band won a 2010 MTV Video Music Award for  “Tighten Up” and were recently nominated for several Grammy Awards. They also appeared as the musical guest on the first “Saturday Night Live” broadcast of 2011.

For their 2010 tour, they commissioned local artists in the cities on their tour to create concert posters.  They then posted photos of the creations to their Facebook page in advance of each show, supplying the artist’s name and the number of original prints for sale at the show.

Their Facebook fans (including myself) commented on the posters and shared them with friends, creating a great deal of buzz regarding the upcoming show as well as the posters. From the information I have been able to gather, all of the posters sold out at every show.  Additionally, if you Google “Black Keys concert posters,” you will find myriad opportunities to purchase posters from the tour.

The Black Keys are now sponsoring a contest to pick the most popular poster from the tour.  They created a Facebook photo album including all of the tour posters and are inviting comments from their fans to determine which poster is the fan favorite.

Judging from the comments accompanying the images of the posters, the sold-out shows and posters from the 2010 tour — and the meteoric rise in popularity the band has experienced — the band has been highly successful in combining old and new media to create an even more powerful marketing strategy.