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November 16, 2006

Weird Al Yankovic - Social Marketing Guru

By Li Evans

Weirdal Remember Dr. Demento?  Yes, he's still around, but how many of you remember or even know that's where Weird Al Yankovic got his start?  I was reminded of that this morning when I looked at my email.

This morning, the folks at Jib Jab emailed me, and to my delight, there is a new jib jab movie and guess who Jib Jab teamed up with?  Weird Al!  It's a "music video" to his Taylor Hicks parody song "Do I Creep You Out."

Weird Al has become the social marketing guru of the Music Industry.  He is using the Internet as a medium to reach a whole new audience, a lot younger than those of us who know who Dr. Demento is.  Weird Al Yankovic has his own website, his own MySpace page, a bunch of videos on YouTube and now a viral Jib Jab piece.  Heck, Weird Al even has his own very extensive Wikipedia entry.

I took an interest in Al's use of social media after hearing about his problem with the parody of James Blunt's parody song "You're Pitiful."  James was flattered and ok'd the parody, however, James' record executes didn't and nixed the parody for Straightoutoflynwood Al's album "Straight Out Of Lynwood".  That didn't stop Al - he released it for free on his website and it took off from there.  He knew the power of the internet and commented "I just let it go viral."  That's for sure, now there's a ton of YouTube home made videos to the song.

So how can Al measure all this social media marketing and viral marketing, what kind of success did it give him?  How about his first Top 10 album - ever.  Yes, that's right, Al's had 12 albums, but none have ever made it to the top 10.  His latest single - "White & Nerdy" was his first song to crack the Billboard Top 10 hitting #9.  Not even "Eat It" made it that far - in 1984 it was #12. 

When I read the interview that CNN did with Al, I went on a mission to see if I could interview him for Search Marketing Gurus.  I emailed the webmaster for his site, after a few days, someone at Sony BMG emailed me back and said "Al was too busy right now getting ready for a tour."  So I waited a bit before finishing up writing what I started a few weeks back, till today - when Jib Jab brightened my morning.

For those of you interested, Al actually keeps his "friends" on MySpace up to date.  He recently did a stint on the Tonight Show, he'll be presenting at the AMA's and performing on a VH1 "Big in 06" show and the Jib Jab video is going to make its way to the TV - VH1 gave it a green light.

So go on, be "White & Nerdy" and make Weird Al your MySpace friend and give him a few votes on VH1 but if you visit his website  "Don't Download This Song", Weirdalandguesswho because someone just might say "You're Pitiful", but maybe not if you watch the video.

A little trivia to wrap this up, can anyone guess who that is with Al in the last picture?


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