Ardent Records announces the launch of a major marketing campaign to promote the August 28 release of Alien Youth, the new project from top rock band Skillet. The label has put into action aggressive retail, radio, touring, advertising, internet, grassroots, and publicity promotions.
Over the course of its career, Skillet has developed a consistently large and loyal fan base, becoming both a critic’s favorite as well as a youth group standard with their ministry oriented and aggressive, creative, and cutting-edge style. The new album, produced by Skillet lead vocalist John Cooper, is geared to further solidify the band’s position while expanding its reach.
“With the exception of POD, Skillet is the leading hard rock band in Christian music, based on sales, airplay, and concert tickets sold,” notes Hugh Robertson, Waterfront Marketing president. “It is truly amazing what Skillet has been able to accomplish thus far. Before this project, Skillet has never been on a major tour, yet they have managed to garner a huge following and play over 200 of their own dates every year. We are truly excited to see what will happen when a group this talented and popular is promoted to the fullest, and that’s exactly what we intend to do with the Alien Youth marketing campaign.”
In order to launch Alien Youth, Ardent has been carefully working for months to secure top tour appearances for Skillet. To introduce the project to committed fans and also to expose the band to a wider audience, Skillet is featured on the Festival Con Dios Tour, which has been covered by such major media outlets such as USA Today, CNN, Billboard, and Entertainment Weekly. The band will be opening immediately in front of top-sellers such as Supertones, Audio Adrenaline, and Newsboys every night, broadening the band to crowds that are anticipated to swell to over 100,000 people.
This fall, Skillet will also embark on their first major-market headliner tour with special guests Pillar and Justifide. The band will visit 30 top markets with its largest production to date, playing in bigger venues to highlight its full production and dynamic live performance. Furthermore, Skillet will be featured at an impressive number of top festivals and several crusade events with Luis Palau and Harvest Crusades during the summer, which will put them in front of an additional 200,000 or more people.
Ardent is also pursuing unprecedented retail support for Skillet and Alien Youth via incentives, appearances by the band, and attention to merchandising and catalog advertising. To introduce retailers to Alien Youth, Skillet will participate in a nationwide promotional tour, visiting major retailers in various markets to highlight the project and to give parking lot concerts for its fans. In addition, 300,000 samplers of Skillet’s new music will be distributed via Chordant Distribution’s summer new music program. Ardent Records has also partnered with a top-selling wearable merchandise company to develop a line of Alien Youth T-Shirts and wearables for the CBA market to appear in stores along with the release of the project.
Other retail efforts will include a joint effort between Ardent, Forefront, Gotee and Chordant to develop a hard rock merchandising kit that will allow retailers a convenient way to end-cap position four great hard rock titles all releasing August 28: Skillet, POD, Relient K, and new act Steve. Alien Youth giveaway products, a September introductory pricing strategy and prominent advertising space in major retail catalogs are additional important parts of the retail campaign.
Recognizing that Skillet’s latest effort is filled with a tremendous number of potential hit singles for Rock radio, as well as for the first time for Christian Hits Radio (CHR), the Alien Youth marketing approach will also include a heavy emphasis on radio airplay. Skillet was on hand at all major radio events during the recent Gospel Music Association week, and this summer Skillet will visit dozens of key radio stations throughout the country to personally deliver its new singles from Alien Youth. The first singles from the project, the rock single “Alien Youth,” and the Christian Hits Radio (CHR) single, “You Are My Hope,” will be serviced to radio during the months of June and July.
Along with radio exposure, an aggressive media plan has been formulated in order to promote the concept of the Alien Youth project. In addition to seeking reviews for the record and major personality profiles, features and articles will be pursued in order to give Skillet the opportunity to explain the Alien Youth Concept and the purpose behind their music to new and old fans alike. In pursuit of this goal, Skillet was featured as the cover of 7 Ball magazine in March.
“Because this Alien Youth theme and call to action is so important and accessible to youth, Ardent has purposefully tailored their marketing approach to include helpful tools for youth pastors and workers,” said Robertson.
With that approach in mind, Skillet is involved in developing a special Bible study program based on the five key attributes of living as an Alien Youth that will be communicated to 7,000 youth pastors via Interl’inc, as well as several other youth pastor initiatives. Skillet and Alien Youth materials will be continually featured in Interl’inc Resources through the month of December. The mailings will include excerpts from song lyrics like “Worldwide Jesus Domination,” “Rise Like A Chosen Generation,” “We’re Takin’ Over-We’re the Alien Youth.”
In addition, these slogans and the Alien Youth 5 Essentials concept will be a large part of Skillet’s upcoming tour appearances. Alien Youth signs and stickers will be given away to youth and youth ministers at all of Skillet’s major festival appearances this summer, and there will be special youth pastor meetings organized around Festival Con Dios dates. As part of the Alien Youth headliner tour, Skillet will be holding contests for youth groups to decorate their buses, vans and cars as Alien Youth vehicles. The band itself will take time to judge the contests before each show and have special prizes for the winning groups.
Recognizing the enormous grassroots history Skillet has enjoyed in the past, Ardent will also work to coordinate several promotions at the grassroots level. There will be Skillet interns working at every major festival where Skillet is performing to distribute stickers, flags, banners, and pre-release CDs. In addition, Grassroots Promotions will be retained to supplement these and other promoters with thousands of calls and local volunteers.
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