An $11 million infomercial campaign selling licensed Stones merchandise began airing last week in California to coincide with the rock group's "No Security" tour, which kicked off Jan. 25 at the Oakland Arena.
The licensing agreement via Music Art LLC, a memorabilia marketer in Philadelphia, encompasses 14 lithographs and assorted tour art products. Reliant Interactive Media Corp., Clearwater, Fla., created the infomercial.
Mercury Media, Los Angeles, handled media, planning placement of the infomercial with the care of a politician's advance team. It's airing on independent local broadcast TV in each planned concert city just before the tour date.
"The Stones are arguably one of the hottest bands of all time," said Reliant Chairman-CEO Kevin Harrington, adding that the licensed art is a hot product for his company to market.
"It's a lot more credible than Ginsu knives," Mr. Harrington said, and he should know. In 1986, his company at the time, Quantum Marketing, conceived and marketed the legendary Ginsu knife on TV.
"Hopefully, [the Stones lithos will] make us as much money" as the Ginsu knife did, he said.
In addition to the flight of infomercials scheduled for local broadcast TV, Reliant will expand the infomercial to network and national cable channels to supplement the local buys.
It also is advertising in daily newspapers in local markets, and later this month runs advertising in USA Today.
The infomercial directs consumers to both an 800-number and a Web site (www.lifestylesmall.com).
In addition, Mr. Harrington-who was president of HSN Direct, a division of the Home Shopping Network, until last December-said he's currently in discussions with HSN to sell the Stones merchandise on that network.
"Our company makes a profit when we sell product to them," he said, adding that "we get a chance to test the product mass market."
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Timing is everything and is key in this campaign. The timing may prove even more fortuitous than Mr. Harrington thought. It certainly can't hurt that VH1 recently began featuring Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in advertising for the channel or that Tommy Hilfiger, in addition to sponsoring the Stones tour, features the band in spring 1999 print ads.
Add to that Mick Jagger's highly publicized split from former supermodel Jerry