Orbell Communications

Communicating Your Message

Frankie Say…Marketing! (Part 2)

Posted by jorbell on December 22, 2009

It’s just been revealed that the CD single of the recently remixed single Relax by Frankie goes to Hollywood has been cancelled. This follows the complete withdrawal of a planned release of The Power of Love for the Christmas market.

These two tracks were being used to promote a retrospective collection for the band called Frankie Say Greatest which was launched last month. While the album made the Top 30 in the UK, download sales of Relax were so poor it did not even make the Top 100.

A few weeks ago I added my first Frankie Say…Marketing! blog post on the methods being used to promote this set and made a few predictions on how well it would do. It turned out I was way off the mark.

Personally I think Universal had a good go at generating interest with Frankie singer Holly Johnson doing a lot of TV and radio interviews (at prime time too) but it appears they simply messed up on the single release. Maybe it was doomed because people were just being nostalgic for the period and had no intention of buying anything.

A lot more should have been done to market the track to the kids as a great dance record on its own merits and got it into the clubs. That’s the tissue though – this campaign is about two completely different things: a fantastic contemporary song (regardless of its history) and the oldies wallowing in 80s nostalgia. Maybe it should never have been done as one simple campaign.

Relatively speaking Maximum Joy, the previous Best of issued in 2000, had more success despite the lower chart placing because it split itself in two with a dance mix CD and the originals on the other. It still spawned three new hit singles, one of which went Top 10. Whatever original fans think of those mixes the kids could just play CD2 and enjoy it while the parents played CD1.

I recently heard on old interview with one of the co-founders of Frankie’s ZTT record label, Jill Sinclair, say that at the end of the day you have to sell records or it becomes pretty pointless. Even Paul Morley agreed with that despite his love of the eccentric Factory Records label. In those days ZTT had the integretity of balancing the music with business however they treated their artists financially.

This seems to be it now as far as Frankie are concerned. If they can’t crack a 25th anniversary release there doesn’t seem much hope of doing at any other time. As Holly himself says, it was perfect pop moment and that’s probably where it should be left.


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