A Publicity Stunt Or Viral Ad -- Or Just A Band Connecting With Fans?

from the is-it-an-ad-or-is-it-memorex? dept

About a week ago, a band named Atomic Tom apparently had all of its instruments stolen, but as the story goes, they still had their iPhones and the will to continue. So they filmed themselves performing one of their songs on a NYC subway -- playing their iPhones, instead of their usual instruments. The band got some attention for this stunt, and along with it, questions like: "Did they really have their instruments stolen? Was this performance really impromptu? Did Apple pay them to advertise for the iPhone?" You can watch the video for yourself here:
The video certainly seems polished enough to warrant questions about how much planning must have gone into making it. But does it really matter? Isn't the best advertising the kind of advertising that you don't care if it's advertising? Even if this performance is a well-orchestrated (no pun intended) publicity stunt, the band is still offering up this entertainment for free to attract new listeners (and presumably to help pay for new instruments, someday in the future). That's just a smart business move.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    That video's pretty sweet!

     

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  2.  
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    Shanoboy (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    awesome

    I hope it was advertising, if only because if advertisements were more like this, I wouldn't mind watching them.

     

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    me, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    When I first saw their vid I thought....wow what a great story and then realized that these guys are really good. I've read a few stories since questioning if this was a publicity stunt and was the story about them having their instruments stolen really true. And after thinking about it all I've come to one conclusion....WHO CARES IF IT'S A STUNT! The song is great and I've watched the vid about a dozen times since. Kudos to them one way or another. They have got themselves a number of new fans because of it...myself included.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    Endorsing fraud as a new "business model".

    Anything to get noticed, then they can start tapping the gravy train. A method that can work only for entertainers.

     

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  5.  
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    Mojo, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:17pm

    "The video certainly seems polished enough to warrant questions about how much planning must have gone into making it."

    Polished? It was shot on an iPhone with existing light and in basically one take. I don't see the polish you are referring to!

    Advertisement or not, the fact that this band performed all their respective parts with smartphone apps (iPhone or not) is really damn cool.

    Probably also helps that the music is relatively simple, but that in turn shows off their songwriting skill!

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    I'll have to look these people up

    I showed this to a friend of mine (that's the intent ether way isn't it) and while I was I figured I'd dissect it.

    I'm leaning to the "it's true" side. If it was staged I think the audio and video would be better. The iPhone would be much more prominent, they would say it's an iPhone right at the beginning instead of the end where it can be easily missed (I almost did the first time). They would all be using the new iPhone 4 instead of what looks like a mix of ones and twos.

    OK, I guess that means I don't think it was payed for by Apple, it may have been staged by Atomic Tom. Ether way, I'm going to look them up now.

     

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  7.  
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    Gary Hegenbart, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 4:45pm

    A stunt, but still awesome

    According to one report, they admit it was a stunt: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/viral-video-atomic-toms-guerilla-30885. But they did it on their own, without consulting their label. And more importantly, I now know they exist and will share a cool song and video with my friends.

     

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  8.  
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    abc gum, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    NYC will probably send them a take down notice.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    The thing to remember is not that the video is good or not, but the deal behind that video.

    You still are giving the label your valuable attention to people who don't care about you.

     

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    tvdave (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 5:37pm

    Hadn't even CONSIDERED that this might be a setup. But EVEN IF IT WAS, it's still awesome, just in a slightly different way. These guys have have done something I'd never even imagined, and they pulled off the most entertaining stunt I've seen in a lo-o-ong time. AND the music's really GREAT. Viral video don't get no better than this!

     

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    Spectere (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 6:20pm

    Re: I'll have to look these people up

    It actually looks to me like all of them but the keyboardist have iPhone 4's. His appears to have rounded edges, which is a telltale sign of a pre-4 iPhone (though it's hard to be sure which -- the 3G and 3GS look identical when held, and the original's looks identical at more than a short distance). The video is also available in 720p, so the people recording it are using either iPhone 4s or fourth generation iPod touches (and considering the clarity, I doubt it's the latter).

    On an slightly related note, the fact that I'm going into any sort of detail on this is a pretty good indication that I need to go outside more.

     

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  12.  
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    Sean, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 6:37pm

    I love to see the people who thought it was "REAL!!!!" be proven wrong by the band themselves.

    How stupid do you feel?

     

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    Shawn (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 7:03pm

    Re: A stunt, but still awesome

    I could tell by the pixels.

    Oh and the band saying it was a stunt ;D

     

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  14.  
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    TechDan, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 7:06pm

    On Puns

    Mike, I enjoy reading TechDirt a lot, so I say this to improve your writing beyond it's already exceptional quality.

    Don't acknowledge puns. Ever. Reasons:

    1. If the pun was truly a mistake, it would have been changed.
    2. By acknowledging it, you acknowledge your own cleverness and intellectual superiority to those who might have missed the pun, which is incredibly douchetastic.
    3. Anyone that is also clever enough to get the puns can share an instant inside joke, thus making that point of the article more enjoyable.
    4. Anyone who first misses the pun can no longer be blissfully unaware and thus will look upon the article negatively.

    Puns are fun. Nobody enjoys being told that they should be having fun when they aren't.

    Don't acknowledge your puns because it removes the fun for everyone. Unless you enjoy being a douchebag, which I highly doubt.

     

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  15.  
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    TechDan, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Re: On Puns

    Edit:

    it's = its

     

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  16.  
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    Blatant Coward (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 8:53pm

    Re:

    "How stupid do you feel?"

    Not at all, but then I have a life.

     

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  17.  
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    slightly amused, Oct 18th, 2010 @ 11:49pm

    music still sounded like the same old crap. this is only interesting because they all used iphones to play it live. neato, next please

     

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  18.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 3:01am

    Re: On Puns

    Hi TechDan,

    Mike Masnick didn't write this one, but my name is also Mike, so there's always a bit of confusion with Mike's around here...

    Anyway, I'm not the exceptional writer that Mike Masnick is, so your pointer will be noted for future reference as I brush up my skills. :)

    -- the other mike at techdirt

     

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  19.  
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    grumpy (profile), Oct 19th, 2010 @ 3:37am

    Re:

    I didn't care at all. I was mightily entertained. Who cares if it's real - it's entertainment! Suspension of disbelief and all that. Also, there's real inventiveness and musical skill displayed regardless of purpose. You ever go to the movies...?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 6:04am

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:54am

    Band must make good money for all of them to be able to afford iPhones. When I was young and had a band all the money went into equipment, not phones.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 19th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    So what this was already done in Japan, but with a portable Nintendo or some bullshit. It sounded like shit too. Be real!

     

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  23.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 3:37am

    Re: calculated PR stunt, it is...

    So that last BillBoard.com paragraph is interesting:

    Before the release, Atomic Tom will capitalize on the video's success by heading out on the road this fall. Although the group will play "Take Me Out," and the rest of "The Moment," using real instruments, White would not be opposed to the group performing on their iPhones in concert. "I'm sure we'll be requested to do so, and we'd be happy to oblige," says White.

    I wonder if this band will be able to get some Apple money to play on their iPhones in concert -- that would be an awesome and "unique" way for a band to earn money.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 9:15pm

    Re: On Puns

    How about douchebags who have nothing to say about the substance of an article, but have to sound off and criticize the writing style of the guy who wrote the piece.

    BTW, I would have missed the pun without him calling attention to it, but I thought it was fun. It made it more enjoyable, not less.

     

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