The first CD is based on the talking frogs and lizards featured in Budweiser TV and radio commercials. Called "Frank & Louie's Greatest Hits," it will feature 11 pop and rock party classics, such as "Get Down Tonight" by KC & the Sunshine Band; "Louie, Louie" from the Kingsmen; "My Sharona" from the Knack; and "Rock This Town" by the Stray Cats.
Each song will be separated by commercials featuring the famous lizards, each of the 10 spots running 60 seconds.
THE POWER OF BUD
"When you take a brand like Budweiser, it has a certain power," said Paul Burgess, VP-marketing for TVT Records, an alternative/independent label that releases music by such rock bands as Nine Inch Nails.
"You see evidence in the selling of [Budweiser] T-shirts and hats. Why not music? This is a good hook for the consumer," he said. "It is always important to develop new niches in the market."
In an unusual distribution plan, the CD will be available not only through normal music retailers but venues where Budweiser products are sold, including supermarkets, beverage stores and bars. A-B will help distribute the CD through its local distributors.
Marquee Group's Alphabet City Records, a music and sports marketing company that is the exclusive music licensing partner for virtually all major sports leagues, handled the deal for A-B..
"We treat these deals like another licensed product," said Stephen Nitkin, senior VP of Alphabet City and executive producer of "Frank & Louie's Greatest Hits."
Kmart Corp., Spencer Gifts and Wal-Mart Stores have agreed to carry the CD.
NEW BUD CD FOR JULY 4
Alphabet City, A-B and TVT are planning another four to five CDs. Mr. Nitkin said the next Budweiser-related CD product will come out July 4. He declined to disclose what that CD will feature.
Advertising and promotion will be limited to in-store marketing, primarily end-aisle and/or counter displays. TVT hopes the popularity of the commercials themselves will help move the music product.
"The awareness is already out there," said Mr. Burgess.
This is a first attempt for TVT Records in dealing with a major consumer-product brand. Previously, TVT's specialty and music compilation CDs have included included such titles as "Television Greatest Hits" and "Sci-Fi's Greatest Hits."
Alphabet City Records has done CDs such as "The Chicago Bulls Greatest Hits," which re-creates a sports arena setting by featuring well-known in-arena music and audio from radio broadcasts. The Bulls CD has sold more than 500,000 copies through non-music retailers such as Foot Locker.
"Frank & Louie's Greatest Hits" will have a list price of $12.98 when it arrives