Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Steven Tyler vs. Joe Perry: Who Rocked Their Aerosmith Autobiography Better?

Steven Tyler Joe Perry Autobiographies Aerosmith
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, also known as the Toxic Twins, have survived the rise and fall and rise again of Aerosmith. They're one of the few bands that can boast they've been around 40+ years and still have all their original members and still play incredibly well. During those years, there's been countless stories and rumors surrounding the band. Now we're starting to get some insight of what really happened.

In 2011, Steven Tyler released his autobiography, Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir. Late last year, Joe Perry released his own, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith. Each gives his take of their history and infamous stories.

Steven Tyler Aerosmith Cleveland
Both talk about the drugs, the sex, the fights, the success and everything in between. With Steven Tyler, you can hear his excitement, enthusiasm, frustration and every emotion he felt through his stories. Joe Perry, on the other hand, really lets us in to what was going through his mind. He also gives a great look at why he left Aerosmith in early 80's and how he kept the Joe Perry Project going until his eventual return to the band.

The biggest critique I've got about both books is that the music is glossed over. Both talk about their early influences and what led to forming Aerosmith. But then, they just touch on the recording of the records. They seem to be included more as a timeframe reference or a lead-in to another conflict. I get that there's a lot to get to (60+ years in about 400 pages), but unfortunately, some of it falls a little flat due to the lack of depth in this area.

In reading both points of view, here are the couple of conclusions that I'm left with. First and foremost, if it wasn't clear before, it definitely is now. Joe Perry is the "rock" in Aerosmith. Steven Tyler is pushing for the pop hits. Perry said a couple of times (paraphrasing) that when you try to write hits, the heart and soul get lost. He wants to write the music he knows and loves (blues and rock) and the hits will come because the songs are authentic.

Joe Perry Aerosmith
Second, when it comes to the band members' relationships with each other, and especially with Steven Tyler, there's a lot of damage. The sad part is that the majority of it was likely caused by management and their representation. There was a lot of "Steven said this..." and "Joe said that..." coming from their managers and most of it was done to manipulate the other members. When Steven was in the hospital after falling off the stage in 2009, he was mad because none of the band member contacted him. Meanwhile, Perry and the rest of the band were told by Tyler's management that he didn't want to hear or see them. Who's right? They probably both are and neither know what was really said and to whom.

That's not to say any of them are completely innocent. Perry all out says he no longer trusts Tyler (and told him as much). There were a lot of reasons that led to that, but the biggest reasons were Tyler auditioning for Led Zeppelin and then accepting the American Idol gig without telling the band about either. Tyler's book ends as he's accepting the American Idol job. Perry's book goes a bit beyond and includes his reaction to hearing the announcement through a press release.

Overall, who rocked their book better? It really is interesting to read both and get their viewpoints...especially when they differ. If you were to just read one though, I'd go with Joe Perry.  The biggest reason is that after reading Rocks, I was rooting for Perry to take control of Aerosmith and get them to make at least one more CD that truly rocks. Meanwhile, after reading Tyler's book,  I really came away liking him a bit less...and I've always been one of his biggest fans.

If you're a huge Aerosmith fan like me, a couple of other books worth checking out are Walk This Way by Stephen Davis and Aerosmith and Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock bottom at the Top by Joey Kramer.

Are you an Aerosmith fan? Have you read either or both books? Which do you like better? Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please share it. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Pre-Super Bowl Social Media Hits and Misses

Social Media Command Center
While many brands may be releasing their Super Bowl ads early, I won't be peeking. I like to watch them live during the game, especially if the game is a blow out. That doesn't mean that I'm not paying attention to the news and the social media chatter surrounding the ads and the game leading up to Sunday. We've already had some drama and successes.

Pre-Super Bowl Social Media Hits and Misses
#DeflateGate
Deflategate, while not an ad, may be the biggest drama out there. Whether you think it's a big deal or not, it's definitely been entertaining to watch the responses by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The best of which may be Belichick's deadpan delivery of the Mona Lisa Vito reference. If it was meant to be a joke, no one told him. Nothing like a dated reference to get people distracted from the PSI of a football. If nothing else, it's created a fun hashtag, #DeflateGate (close second being Gillette's #Flexball), and has the social media world in an uproar. It may end up being the most used hashtag of the Super Bowl, including before and after. 
Pre Super Bowl Social Media Hits and Misses
GoDaddy.com
If that's not enough drama, just today, GoDaddy.com released their ad about a lost puppy that ends being owned by a puppy mill. Well, it didn't take long for social media to be filled with negative comments for support of puppy mills. A Change.org online petition received over 42,000 signatures calling for the removal of the ad. So, GoDaddy is pulling the ad. It's no longer available on YouTube. You can read the full story here.

Pre Super Bowl Social Media Hits and Misses
Newcastle Band of Brands
In good news, to follow up on the post I wrote last week about Newcastle Brown Ale (Check it out here), they've succeeded in finding brands to partner on a Super Bowl ad...37 of them! Brands like Brawny, Match.com, Jockey and Sharper Image are being crammed into a commercial that will only be seen on air in Palm Springs. Everyone else can watch it at www.newcastlebandofbrands.com.

Pre Super Bowl Social Media Hits and Misses
Halftime Show Options - Katy Perry or YouTube
In other Super Bowl programming news, this year YouTube will be live streaming their own halftime show (what? no Lingerie Bowl this year?). So, if you're like me and can't think of a worse halftime performer than Katy Perry (thank God they added Lenny Kravitz to try to make it watchable), now you have an alternative. They'll be featuring Freddie Wong and other YouTube "celebrities" I've never heard of. However, they have 60 million subscribers combined for their YouTube channels, so don't go by me. And, one of the draws will be people diving into a pool of cheese! That sounds just weird enough to be fun. 

Pre Super Bowl Social Media Hits and Misses
Selfie World Record
Finally, in other "who cares?" news, NBC Sports and Patrick Peterson broke the world record for the number of selfies taken in an hour on Tuesday. Peterson took 1,449 selfies. The record had been 657. Pretty lame promotion and who knew they even kept track of that.

Overall, I'm looking forward to the game and the commercials during the game. I'll be tweeting my thoughts on commercial hits and misses throughout the game on Sunday. If you want to follow along, follow me
@jeremybednarski. What are you most looking forward to with the Super Bowl? Tell me in the comments below. Thanks for reading and enjoy the game and all that goes with it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Super Bowl Commercials for $4.5 Million? Newcastle Brown Ale is Smarter Than That

Newcastle Band of Brands Super Bowl Promotion
It's Super Bowl commercial season again...What? Oh, sorry. It's "Big Game" commercial season again! The time of year when brands attempt to kick up their content a notch or two. Unfortunately, very few succeed. It seems more like brands pour all their money into buying the ad time ($4.5 million this year) and on making a splashy commercial without thoughts of how to make it last past their 30 second allotment.

However, last year there was one clear stand out. I wrote about the Newcastle Brown Ale "If We Made It" online promotion. Their online videos were about the commercial they would have made for the "Big Game". It was so well done I thought it would start a trend of brands creating online promotions instead of paying for the actual "Big Game" spot. At least a few cheap copycats.
Super Bowl Promotion

Well, I've got good news and bad news for this year. Here's the bad news: I haven't seen any other companies promoting online promotions yet. There's still time though. If you know of any, please tell me in the comments below. Here's the good news: Newcastle Brown Ale is back with a new promotion! This year they are trying to place an ad for the game - as long as they don't have to pay for it.

Their first attempt was to create a Newcastle ad disguised as a user-generated ad submitted for a snack chip contest (Doritos). Unfortunately, a number of rules prohibited Newcastle from being selected. They're listed in the behind-the-scenes video.

Now, they're trying to find additional brands to pool their money together for a commercial and calling it the Newcastle Band of Brands. As convincing as only Newcastle can be, they have released two videos so far starring Aubrey Plaza soliciting brands to join them. From their website, www.newcastlebandofbrands.com, it looks like they have at least 7 more videos still to come.

While I'll be watching all of the other commercials and analyzing them with all of you, I'm most looking forward to the rest of the Newcastle promotion. I love their edge and their whole "we-don't-need-the-Big-Game" attitude. On a related note, they also ran an Independence Eve promotion last year called "If We Won" (ifwewon.com) that was also very well done.

Take a look at the Band of Brand videos and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading. If you like this post, please share it with your friends.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Interview: So After All That, Who Won?

Taking It Back
First off, this is not a review of "The Interview" starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. I haven't seen it yet. But, you've no doubt followed along in what has to be the most bizarre movie opening ever. If you lived under a rock and missed it, here's a recap. Set to open on Christmas Day, the movie was pulled back and rumored to never be released at all amid Sony's cyber attack and threats of violence on movie theaters that showed the movie. Sony suddenly found themselves criticized for allowing North Korea to dictate a movie's opening...including comments from President Obama. Next thing you know, on Christmas Eve, Sony relents and decides to release it on Christmas after all. It opened in theaters that decided to show it, as well as online.
The results after the first weekend were $2.8 million in the theater (now at $4.8 million in limited theaters)...and $15 million in online sales. It became the most downloaded over-the-top movie ever with 2 million downloads over the first 4 day weekend, Dec. 25-28 (read more here). Sales were close to the $20 million projected if it had a wide release to all theaters as originally planned. In the aftermath, there's now speculation that North Korea may not have been responsible for the Sony cyberattack after all. It may have been Russian speakers. Further rumors have accused the entire thing of being an elaborate marketing stunt by Sony. 

Given all of the hype, drama and success, who were the winners here? Let's take a look at the players:

  • Sony: It's too early to say whether they'll win out eventually. While the first weekend was successful, I've seen original overall projections as high as $120 million. I'm not sure they make that much. If it turns out to be an actually good movie (I've heard mixed reviews), it might. Or, it might fizzle out after the initial excitement and hype.

    As for rumors of this being all publicity, I don't think so. There's too much money at risk. Plus, there had been threats from North Korea for months about releasing the movie. I was actually surprised no one took any of it seriously until the last minute. This also does nothing but damage the U.S.'s relationship with North Korea.

  • North Korea: Almost, but nope. Whether they were responsible for the Sony cyber attack or not, they were taken seriously for a few minutes there. In the end though, Sony went ahead with the release and there was no violence. Was Kim Jong Un really going to waste the money and energy for a Seth Rogen/James Franco movie? Hard to say, but he's unstable enough to say "maybe".

  • The American Government: No. They stood up for not backing down to threats, but they were defending a Seth Rogen/James Franco movie. Not much to be gained and not surprised they didn't come out too strongly. Although, they could have nipped this in the bud months ago before all of the drama.

  • Online Movie Ordering: With the 2 million downloads, "The Interview" is now considered a test case for simultaneous video on demand and theatrical release. I think this may be too much of an anomaly. While it may have gotten people to try online ordering that hadn't before, the strange set of events leading up to it are likely the reason for the success. I don't see this success being replicated on a "regular" movie release. 

  • Us, the viewing public: Again, I can't say. I haven't seen it and the reviews I've seen have been mixed. You could say we won by having the option to see it at all. But, if it's a bad movie, what did we really win?

  • Seth Rogen and James Franco: I'm not sure they won as much as they didn't lose. Not sure all the hubbub was worth it though. 

The way I see it, there was only one clear winner: George Clooney. His statement (read more here) was widely shared and supported on social media. For once, most of us agreed with what he had to say and took the time to read it. Good for you, George! Don't make it a habit though. Most of us don't care about your views on just about anything.
Oh, and partial winners were Trey Parker and Matt Stone as "Team America: World Police" was set to be the replacement movie shown in a few theaters...until Paramount smacked that idea down. It was a great idea and a great movie. How that was released with none of this drama, I'll never know. Puppets must not offend the North Koreans as much. Or, maybe they just thought the movie was as funny as we did! If you haven't seen it (or even if you have), check it out. 

Do you agree with my take? Did you see the movie yet? Did you like it? Tell us in the comments below. Thanks for reading and please share it with your friends! Have a great 2015!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Top 10 Influential Marketers of 2014


2014 has been a huge year for marketing. I personally learned a ton. Podcasts, blogs, videos, books, conferences, Twitter chats...I could go on and on. There were a lot of people to learn from and below are the ten most influential marketers of 2014. Some are very familiar, some were new to me and some I was just plain late to the party. Here they are in no particular order:

Top Ten Influential Marketers of 2014
Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer): Paul's approach to marketing with PR 20/20 is refreshing and truly is a different way of thinking than most agencies. The fact that he saw a better way to do things and built it is as inspiring as it comes. Full disclosure: I was so inspired by Paul that when there was an opportunity to join the team at PR 20/20, I jumped at the chance!

Scott Stratten (@unmarketing): Scott is one of the guys I was late to party for. I heard him speak for the first time this year at Content Marketing World. I was hooked quickly. Since, I've been catching up quickly on his books and listen to his Unpodcast regularly. He's the one guy on this list that I haven't met yet. Hopefully I'll get the chance soon!

Top Ten Influential Marketers of 2014
Jason Miller (@jasonmillerCA): What do you get when you mix heavy metal music and content marketing? One of the smartest and most entertaining marketers out there. Anyone that can mix in AC/DC and Kiss in their marketing presentation will have my undivided attention (check it here on Slideshare)! Meeting Jason was one of the highlights of my year, not only to talk marketing, but also talk some rock music!

Andy Crestodina (@crestodina): I was lucky enough to meet Andy at Content Marketing World, where he made a huge splash, not only with his session, but also his creative content during the conference. First was his Ask It Forward video in which speakers would answer a question and then ask a question to the next speaker. He also worked with Amy Higgins to create the second Content Marketing World Yearbook. Both of these have me rethinking how I want to make an impact at my next conference!

Top Ten Influential Marketers of 2014
Joe Pulizzi (@joepulizzi): Over 2600 marketers in Cleveland for this year's Content Marketing World, This Old Marketing with Robert Rose, the new Content, Inc. podcast, countless speaking engagements, webinars and chats...oh, and a lifetime achievement award this year! There's a bunch more I can add. And, how can you argue with his goal of making Cleveland the capital of content marketing (see the article here)!  Keep it up, Joe!

Robert Rose (@robert_rose): Robert's presentation about marketers leading the charge at Content Marketing World was more than enough to get him on this list. It may have been the most inspiring presentation at the conference. I can't wait to read his book when it comes out. In the meantime, his articles are always thought-provoking and he's the perfect complement to Joe Pulizzi on This Old Marketing.

Top Ten Influential Marketers of 2014
Content Marketing Institute (@CMIcontent): I have to include CMI as a whole for all they've done this year. The team is incredibly smart and talented. I was lucky enough to specifically spend some time with Cathy McPhillips, Joe Kalinowski and Amanda Subler at a few events this year and they've definitely had a big influence on me. A quick, fun way to get to know the team is join their weekly #CMWorld Twitter chats on Tuesdays at noon!

Ann Handley (@annhandley): Ann is just one of the speakers I can listen to over and over and always come away with something new. "Everybody Writes" may be my favorite new book this year.

Top Ten Influential Marketers of 2014
Jeff Rohrs (@jkrohrs): Jeff is simply one of the smartest guys I know. It might be his lawyer background, but he brings a unique perspective to marketing that I find inspiring. He's one of the guys that I always look forward to hearing speak. Check him out each week on the Social Pros podcast with Jay Baer.


Jay Baer (@jaybaer): Speaking of Jay Baer...I learn something new every time I hear him speak or read one of his articles (or books). True to his "Youtility" theme, Jay offers useful advice in a way that is easy to understand and implement. 

By far, these were not the only influential marketers. Tell me who influenced you this year in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading and please share this with your friends. Have a safe and happy New Year and best of luck for 2015!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Best Rock CD's of 2014

This week, the 2015 Rock Hall inductees were announced. Other than Stevie Ray Vaughan, this is one of the most boring groups they've had. I've already given my feelings on the Rock Hall when they announced the nominees (Maybe the Rock Hall Should NOT Be in Cleveland). I'm not going to rehash that. You can go back and read it if you want. My opinion hasn't changed.

Instead, to give some recognition to bands that truly deserve it, here are my picks for best CD's of 2014! It was a strong rock music year, but there are some clear standouts. So, with that, here we go:

1.) Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators - World On Fire
Coming off of Apocalyptic Love, I wasn't sure if they could top that CD. They came out with a 17-song, 76 minute monster of a CD that doesn't let up from the opening title track through the end. You can read the full review I wrote when it first came out here.




2.) Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican
Zakk Wylde returned with the strongest CD Black Label Society has put out in years. Zakk Wylde's voice was stronger than it's been in some time and these songs just rock. You're not going to find anything here but straight up hard rock. Check out my full review here.





3.) Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
Admittedly, this one had to grow on me a little and the HBO show was a great enhancement to the CD. But once these songs sunk in, they shined! Grohl tells a story with his songs that few others are able to these days. Read my full review of the CD and HBO show here.




4.) Tesla - Simplicity
One of the few '80s bands that continue to make music that stands out. This 14 song set sees them still in fine form. Many feel they were able to recapture some of the sound and feel of their early albums. I didn't really get that sense, but that's not a slight in any way. Just another strong release from one of the best bands to come out of the '80s.




5.) Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls
Judas Priest is back with what may be their final CD. It's classic Judas Priest with the twin guitar attack and screaming Rob Halford vocals. If they've lost anything with age, you won't know it from this CD. Some criticized this CD with being too long, but you'll never see that type of complaint from me. I'd much rather see all of the songs they recorded show up on the record. Let the fans decide which songs they want to listen to. 



There are a few more CD's that need to be mentioned:
Sammy Hagar and Vic Johnson - Lite Roast
This set of acoustic songs from Sammy show us another side. Very entertaining set of songs and a must have if you're a Sammy fan.

Ace Frehley - Space Invader
I'm not a huge fan of solo Ace Frehley, but this CD is damn good. Strong riffs and overall catchy songs show Ace at the best he's been in years.

AC/DC - Rock or Bust
With AC/DC, you know what you're going to get: heavy doses of Angus Young and Brian Johnson's screaming vocals. This is exactly that. It might have been ranked higher if it were released earlier and I had more time to listen to it.

Weird Al Yankovic - Mandatory Fun
I wouldn't normally even mention Weird Al here, but his marketing of this album made many of us take notice remember just how talented he is. He even had his fans fighting for him to play the Super Bowl half time show. "Word Crimes" just might be my all time favorite Weird Al song!


That's my list. What's on your list? Tell me what you agree and disagree with. Thanks for reading! If you like this post, be sure to check out my other posts at www.jeremybednarski.com and share it with your friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: CD, HBO Series and Creative Marketing

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how bands need to find new creative ways to market their CD's (Is the Rock CD Dying?). As the CD industry continues to decline, few artists have found effective ways to connect with their fans in a way to sell more CD's. One of the standouts is Taylor Swift. Jessica Gioglio recently wrote a blog post for Convince and Convert about Swift's use of Instagram to engage with her fans. Now it's the Foo Fighters turn as they look to creatively market their newest CD, Sonic Highways.

Foo Fighters were going to have a hard time topping their last album, Wasting Light.  That album took them to new heights. They were everywhere...MTV (when they actually did something music-based), the Grammys...even a documentary on their history through the making of the album. So what did Dave Grohl come up with? A concept to record eight songs in eight cities (Chicago, Washington DC, Nashville, Austin, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York). Oh, and if that wasn't enough, he would also create a documentary highlighting the musical history of each city for an HBO series. Still not enough? (Yeah, we're a tough crowd...) Grohl used quotes from the interviews from the artists to craft the lyrics for each song.

The band spent a week in each city. They'd record the music during the day and, at night, Grohl would interview artists for the documentary. At the end of the week, he'd take the notes from the artists and work them into lyrics for the song they were recording. On the last day, he'd record the lyrics and they'd record the video for the song that ran at the end of each show. Grohl admitted in an interview with Rolling Stone (read it here) that it was a lot more work than he anticipated.

The series is incredibly well done and captivating. Some of the transitions between musical genres were a little choppy, but Grohl's conversational interview style put the artists at ease as they talked about their experiences. You learn about the bands that put these cities on the map, and you also get a glimpse of how Grohl and the Foo Fighters were influenced as well. To top it off, they also had a guest artist for each song. Not only does this bring additional interest in the songs for Foo Fighters fans, but it opens them up to fans of the guest artists (such as Gary Clark, Jr., Zac Brown, Rick Nielsen and Joe Walsh) who may not be current Foo Fighters fans. Getting them to listen to one song might get them to listen to another...and then, possibly liking it enough to buy the CD.

In addition to the documentary series, they secured a guest spot for a full week on the David Letterman show (David Letterman, in the form of Worldwide Pants, was one of the producers of the HBO series). They spent the week playing cover songs with some guest musicians (most of whom appear on the Sonic Highways CD)...leading up to the first single, Something From Nothing, performed live on the Friday show. Each performance was also promoted heavily on social media the following day.

The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Music chart with 190,000 sales. Overall, I like the CD, but it doesn't match the energy of Wasting Light. It's much more similar to the Sound City soundtrack...the documentary Grohl made about the Sound City studio and in which he brought artists in to record a song in 24 hours. The series very much helps the songs as I had a much stronger appreciation of each song after watching the shows. From seeing the recording and song writing process, as well as the collaboration with the guest artists, there are a little things I wouldn't have noticed had I not watched. It's a great enhancement for the CD with highlights in Something From Nothing, Feast and the Famine, Congregation and I am the River.

Grohl said that this experience has opened up a world of opportunities for the band. In the same Rolling Stone interview, and in true Dave Grohl fashion, he also said, "I'm always learning. You know I have no idea what I'm doing, right?" It's that self awareness and willingness to try things that make most of what Grohl does such a breath of fresh air. His curiosity and eagerness to learn shines through his projects and is perhaps what endears them to us.

What do you think of the CD and/or HBO series? If you haven't checked them out, I highly recommend it. What do you think about it as a marketing vehicle. Leave me your thoughts in the comments below or on social media. Thanks for reading and please share it with your friends.