'The band are full of ideas': Inside Coldplay's No.1 album campaign

'The band are full of ideas': Inside Coldplay's No.1 album campaign

Coldplay are currently at No.1 with their Everyday Life album, which debuted with 80,974 sales (Official Charts Company) last week.

The band are currently competing with Robbie Williams to hold on to the top spot. But whatever the result this week, Parlophone have long-term plans for the double album.

Here, Jack Melhuish, Parlophone’s director of marketing, partnership & strategy, takes Music Week inside the campaign...

There have been some eye-catching elements to the marketing campaign. Who conceived them and what impact have they had with amplification on socials?

“It’s been a really fun campaign so far. We started teasing the album with billboards and other outdoor marketing globally using the album artwork and a cryptic 1919 date that ties into the story of the album. Those were in a bunch of interesting places, including abandoned London Underground tunnels, bus stations in Brazil, painted murals in the Philippines, street flyers in the Middle East. As was widely reported, fans around the world then received a beautiful, typewritten letter signed by the band announcing the album. And, we also announced the tracklisting in a handful of very local newspapers around the world, including the North West Daily Post. These were all very ‘physical’ things, but we made sure they got traction online through the likes of social media and via editorial pick up. This allowed things that were intended to be very small and personal, to become very global messages.  

“It’s been a very collaborative approach and we’ve worked closely with the band to co-create the campaign and activate it. The band are full of ideas, and it was important to them to announce the record in a very personal way, and for the whole campaign to feel tactile and warm. The idea of the letters came straight from them, as did the idea of running classifieds. Our Parlophone UK team, as well as Atlantic in the US, then discussed ways to creatively spread these messages, as well as suggesting and actioning new ones, that tied into the album themes. It’s been really harmonious and the band and management are always very receptive to ideas, big and small.”

As the first full Coldplay release of the streaming era, how are your partnering with DSPs?

“We’ve got a lot of fun, big activations lined up with our DSP partners for the campaign. The band are intentionally not doing as much promo as they could be for the record internationally, so working with globally-facing partners is really essential in terms of getting the album in front of fans and consumers around the world, as well as articulating its themes and musical direction. There was a big play with YouTube where the band performed the album at Sunrise and Sunset against a stunning Jordan backdrop on the day of album release, as well as bespoke activations with Amazon, Apple, Spotify and the big players internationally. We’ve been really encouraged by the reaction on streaming. Everyone supported our focus track, Orphans, as well as the other pieces of music we released alongside this. It’s important to remember that the song, in a lot of ways, is an alternative leaning track and that doesn’t play to the genre skew of a lot of playlists or audience consumption on key services in some markets. We’re relaxed about that, as Coldplay are as much an album proposition as a singles one.” 

As a big Q4 release how much will you pursue traditional marketing such as TV advertising?

“‘Traditional’ marketing is very much a focus of ours alongside all the great partner activations, content moments and tonal things that we’ve been doing so far. Coldplay’s audience is broad and lives everywhere in terms of their media consumption. So, we need to be on TV, on billboards, on radio as well as the more social and digital touchpoints. But for us the media strategy using these elements has to work hand in hand with all the other areas rather than us over focusing on the traditional. Audiences, now more than ever, need to understand what an album is and be engaged and intrigued by it to commit to a purchase or a full stream. So things like TV advertising are the last point in the journey of connecting people to the record.” 

Following the success of Orphans, do you anticipate similar airplay support in this campaign? 

“Hopefully so! That’s one of the fun things about our industry, you never truly know how songs are going to land with both the public and our media partners. But Coldplay have a pretty good track record of delivering songs that connect with an audience so, on that basis, we’re as confident as one can be. The album has a lot of breadth to it but it’s very much a Coldplay album, with songs that we all recognise as instantly them, so there’s lots for radio and streaming partners to engage with and be excited about.”

The last few Coldplay albums were different from one another. How will that be reflected in campaign?

“As a team, we’ve got to keep doing interesting stuff and making compelling things! It’s not enough now to have a creative campaign in the run-up to launch and then revert to the more traditional areas of marketing once a record is out. We’ve shot visuals for most of the album that will be important in creating focus moments around different sides of the record, it’s likely there will be some untraditional and surprising live, and fan-focused, moments peppered over the next 12 months and we’ve got some more big content moves with key partners lined up. We want the campaign to feel very much like it’s ‘always on’ across different areas into next year.”

To read the Music Week magazine story, subscribers can click here

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