Sony’s Clever FONJie Marketing Campaign Redefines What The ARIA Chart Can Be -
John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John Friends for Christmas

Sony’s Clever FONJie Marketing Campaign Redefines What The ARIA Chart Can Be

by Paul Cashmere on December 20, 2016

in News,Noise Pro

It wasn’t coincidence or luck that put the John Farnham & Olivia Newton-John Christmas album at the top ARIA chart this week. It was a carefully planned marketing strategy and the plan was game-changing.

In recent years the ARIA chart has been in a state of flux, struggling to keep up with the changing consumer habits of the music fan.

The three digital charts, Shazam, Spotify and iTunes give the industry a much faster read on audience behaviours. That has left the slow-to-react ARIA chart behind.

Radio programmers look to the three digital charts to track what their audience is doing today as opposed to studying the ARIA chart, which tells them what the audience was reacting to a week or two ago. In competitive radio, that is too slow.

Years ago, ARIA started to include download sales with its physical sales data. That bought the chart back to reflecting current consumer reactions. After all, a sale is a sale, the format was irrelevant. Then a year ago ARIA added streaming to the data and the whole thing went pear-shaped.

A consumer sale is a cash commitment to a song and the artist by the fan. A consumer stream is a non-committal. If it doesn’t eventually lead to a sale then it is more about curiosity than commitment.

Sony planned for the Farnham & Newton-John album to be number one from day one. When the album was conceived, it was built to be Christmas chart-topper. However, for the two heritage artists, that posed a challenge.

Reaching the fan-base to tell them a release like this was out is not easy. Farnham and Newton-John’s fans generally listen to talk radio or oldies stations, neither of which would play their new music.

Farnham and Newton-John would need to make themselves available to talk up this release and promotion Farnham is reluctant to do. Sony got them to commit to face-to-face promotion to drive the sales.

Sony then devised a cunning stunt to mass market the word. 6000 copies of the album were funnelled though a Sunday tabloid marketing campaign but instead of giving the CDs away, the fans bought them for $2 a pop.

Because the discs were sold, not given away, they counted towards the chart. The profile from the campaign also lifted awareness of the release leading to further sales. In the same week, Farnham & Newton-John were taxied from radio station to radio station and television station to television station to talk up the release during the active sales week of the coupon campaign. It was the most promotion either act had done for a new release in decades.

The saturation campaign worked and the album reached the number one spot with a gap of more than the 6000 cheapies and with a few hundred to spare making it a bonafide chart-topper.

That one exercise has redefined what the ARIA can be. Instead of being last week’s news this week, FONJie’s ‘Friends for Christmas’ has reflected the best marketing campaign of the week via its ARIA chart presence and that is something unique to the music industry.

The iTunes chart reflects commitment. The Spotify chart reflects listening habits. The Shazam chart reflects interest. If more labels, artists and managers adopt Sony’s brilliant, out-of-the box strategy, the ARIA chart could once again rule as a fresh reflection of the industries creative thinking.
The X Studio



Related Posts

Charlie Watts, The Rolling Stones (photo by Ros O'Gorman)
Charlie Watts To Sit Out The Rolling Stones Tour

The Rolling Stones legendary drummer Charlie Watts looks like he won’t be participating in the upcoming North American tour.

21 hours ago
Tony Bennett. photo by Ros O'Gorman
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga To Release Another Duets Album

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett have unveiled their second duets album, 'Love For Sale'.

1 day ago
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand Is Finishing Off Her Memoir

Barbra Streisand has used the Covid-19 to finally get to work on her long delayed autobiography.

1 day ago
Dolly Parton in concert photo by Ros O'Gorman
Dolly Parton Invested Songwriting Royalties To Nashville Community

Dolly Parton invested the revenue from Whitney Houston's hit cover of her song I Will Always Love You in a predominantly Black community in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

3 days ago
Marianne Faithfull Montreux
Marianne Faithfull’s Vital Montreux Performances Compiled for Historic Release

14 essential Marianne Faithfull live recordings from her five Montreux Jazz Festival shows between 1995 and 2009 have been compiled for an historic release ‘Marianne Faithfull: The Montreux Years’.

7 days ago
Joni Mitchell Archives Vol 2
Joni Mitchell Recorded by Jimi Hendrix Track Released

On 19 March, 1968 Jimi Hendrix turned up at a Joni Mitchell gig in Ottawa, Canada.

7 days ago
Slim Dusty and Joy McKean Gone Fishin photo supplied by EMI Records
Slim Dusty ‘Gone Fishin’ For Father’s Day

A new Slim Dusty album ‘Gone Fishin’, featuring Slim’s songs about fishing, has been compiled in time for Father’s Day.

7 days ago