12 Aug From the unfair advantage office over at Esquire
They say it was 1957 when Jerry Lee Lewis’ song Great Balls of Fire first went to #1. Up until that week, Chuck Berry, on tour with Jerry Lee at the time, had the #1 song and was left as the tour headliner by the promoter. Incredulous at the perceived slight, Jerry Lee poured a Coke bottle of gasoline all over his piano, set it aflame and finished his song. When he brushed past Chuck through the smoke on his way off the stage, he reportedly said “follow that, killer.”
Of course, Chuck Berry being Chuck Berry, went on and finished the show. But clearly, Jerry Lee had tilted the field in his favor.
Now, from the Unfair Advantage Office over at Esquire Magazine
We content marketing guys are always thinking – and talking – and writing about what we’re thinking and talking about.
It’s about storytelling, we say. Publicity is all about the news angle, we preach. Or timeliness, we admonish. If the timing is wrong, it’s not worth the effort, we say. Great content is all about relevance, about getting the right story in front of the right eyeballs.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…
And then, we happen across something like The Old 97’s playing a semi-forgotten Olivia Newton John song in David Granger’s office >>
Please Mr. Granger
The Old 97s is an outstanding and under-appreciated American [rock/folk/alt-country/choose your category here] band. Rhett Miller and Murray Hammond first joined musical forces in 1989 and somebody who knew them over at Esquire got it in their heads that it would be a good idea to get them into Editor-in-Chief David Granger’s office one day recently to cover an equally outstanding and under-appreciated hit song originally made famous by Olivia Newton John called Please Mr. Please. It was NOT a good idea. It was an AMAZING idea.
Then, we have an entirely different elevator experience >>
Elevators aren’t just for Muzak anymore
Little Hurricane plays live in the Esquire network’s elevator. Two, live musicians sneaking up on the regular crowd going up and down in the network’s lift. And they shoot it on hidden camera.
Seriously? What a simple concept! The phrase is completely cliche. The concept is derivative. It’s silly and stupid and completely, habitually, fantastically AWESOME! The unsuspecting audiences are surprised, bemused, enlightened, but mostly joyously entertained by the idea. And so are we as they shared it across all the Esquire social media networks. Elevator music. Just a little bit better, they say. And they are right.
And you discover… there’s more! >>
Esq Live Sessions
And then you start clicking through the Live Sessions section of the site and see all sorts of weird, odd and completely fantastic video content like:
- Eric Hutchinson on Pharrell Williams’ Happy >>
- Savoir Adore doing Thompson Twins on a ski lift >>
- Sam Roberts Band doing Buddy Holly >>
- Andrew Bird and Tift Merritt in the desert >>
- Gregory Alan Isakov covers Springsteen >>
And we content marketers look at all this great content that drives us through social media and email newsletters to the Esquire site and then we spend 30, 40, 50 minutes or more just surfing around looking for more – and finding it. And we think some more, then we talk some more and try and explain why it’s successful. We try to apply all our rules to it to show how we’re correct in our assessments. But inside, we’re just wondering.
How do they get it?
They’re Esquire. They’ve been published since 1932. With some of the best writers and photographers in history. These bands WANT to be in the magazine. That’s how.
How do they do it?
They spend on it. Time. Money. Effort. Intellectual capital. They care about what they are doing and they do it very well. In short, they put out a great product.
What else is awesome about it?
- They pull back the curtain on Oz. They show that these bands all love this great old music. They reveal that it is, in fact, cool to like older, sometimes overtly pop songs.
- They know AND love their huge audience. Because their audience, largely, is them.
- They make you feel like what they want is the same thing you want. It’s an all in the family club and, what’s more, they’re right.
And though we’ll never say it out loud, EVER, we wonder –
How the heck can we outdo this?
Answer: We probably can’t.
But we can link to it and acknowledge how awesome it all is. Enjoy.