Justin Timberlake Headlines Best Buy Listening Parties
As if anything Justin Timberlake does needs additional buzz, Best Buy stores in 10 key markets hosted listening parties to generate a little extra excitement for the release of his 2006 FutureSex/LoveSounds album. The program tied in vendors—kiosks equipped with Toshiba laptops, Motorola headphones and Samsung cell phones let guests sample Timberlake content while they waited in line—and the whole effort created a big attention-getter for stores in the back-to-school window.
“The traffic it drove was phenomenal, but most importantly it’s something that no other retailer is doing with its artist partners,” says Jim Lawrence, senior manager-event marketing at Best Buy.
Built around in-store appearances by the artist himself, the program was a new concept for the mass retail category. Timberlake stopped at each store for an hour, during which he played songs from the then-unreleased CD and talked about the music. Stores set up a private area complete with a stage with custom set, audio system, plasma screens, full lighting package and dj rig. The area was draped off and staffed with local security, brand ambassadors, talent security and event and store crews.
Best Buy drove awareness with a hit on local radio stations the morning of the party—messages encouraged Justinites to head down to the Best Buy store to see him and get a chance to win tickets to that night’s concert. Attendance, which was limited by store capacity, ranged between 500 and 700 for each of the sold-out shows. The retailer presold 69,285 CDs, surpassing its sales goal for the CD overall, and the events were picked up by local and national media.