First of all, can I say:
HELL YES DAVID BOWIE:
There have been a few people saying how this was a masterpiece of viral marketing.
And in a way, it was – it was announced via 1 tweet from Duncan Jones (David’s son, for all those who don’t know) and immediately set Twitter on fire. Facebook and even the BBC weren’t far behind.
But the marketing here wasn’t really the viral part. You or I couldn’t record a song and reproduce this campaign for one very good reason:
We’re not David Bowie.
(Unless you are, in fact, David Bowie. In which case ohmyGodDavidfuckingBowieisreadingmyblogeverythingyou’vedoneisawesomeevenEarth
There was viral here, for sure. But there wasn’t marketing. There was no incentive to share, it just released into the wild to live or die on its own merits.
Thing is, if you happen to be David Bowie and you happen to be releasing a new song after 10 years, you don’t need marketing. You’ve already got a network of a bazillion people who are desperate to share – repeatedly – anything you do. That tweet would have done the rounds even if aliens had just landed and the zombie apocalypse had started.
The marketing came in the 40 years or so it took to put that network of people there.
David Bowie is clearly pretty good at marketing. You only have to look at his career in the 70s to see that, and also that just because you’re marketing doesn’t mean you can’t put out some awesome material.
But by now, he’s transcended marketing. His fan-base is of a size that sales are built in, even if all that ever happens is someone puts out a tweet.
It’s a good place to be.