Magna Carta - Best Marketing Plan Ever?

Magna Carta - Best Marketing Plan Ever?

This morning I woke up to find my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds flooded with posts from iPhone users boasting that despite not owning a Samsung phone, they were in possession of the new Jay-Z album – Magna Carta.

The posts ranged from informative…
Just downloaded “Magna Carta” on my #iPhone. The song with Rick Ross is my ish

To ignorant…
Got “Magna Carta” on my #iphone! Sorry samsung! #teamiphone #winning

Those of you who think Jay-Z woke up this morning freaking out that iPhone users downloaded his album before it’s intended release are fools. Mr. Carter is a business man, and a good one at that. You really think that this wasn’t well thought out and planned? For all you iPhone users who thought you stuck it to Jay-Z by downloading today, let me explain what really happened…

At first glance, Jay-Z alienating millions of iPhone users seemed like a terrible idea. But was it really? Anyone who has a basic understanding of marketing knows that when something seems more exclusive, it drives interest and demand. Excluding all those iPhone users from the pre-release caused an intended backlash with the result being a ton of publicity around it.

Does ANY album remain exclusive today? Unless you’re printing the CD’s in your house and delivering them to the store or uploading to iTunes personally, no. We (including Jay-Z) all knew that the first Samsung streamer was going to record the album and re-upload to the internet for anyone to enjoy. Hell, it may have been available earlier when some intern at Samsung working on the app copied the album on his flashdrive. In the end, Jay-Z basically tricked the masses into thinking this album would truly be exclusive, when in reality it wasn’t. The demand caused by the “perceived” exclusivity was enough to keep everyone talking about it and a slew of iPhone users ready to hit the “download” button on their favorite file-sharing site.

Now on to the iPhone users who flooded my timelines this morning. You collectively have become the biggest digital street team – ever. Because Jay-Z made you feel left out, you went out of your way to show you had his new album today. He essentially tricked you into promoting his album for free.

Normally, an artist would have to pay millions for that many ad impressions. Even then, traditional ads don’t grab your attention because you know it’s an ad. In this case, the ad was word-of-mouth/viral. It was coming from your friends. You will read what they write, you won’t block them for spam, and in some cases you may even “like” or “share” what they posted.

Now the savvy iPhone user will say “Well, I downloaded it for free, so I’m still winning“. Actually, Jay-Z still is. Let’s do some math…

• Cost of the album $12.00
• Number of social media friends 250
  Divide 250 by $12.00 = .048 (let’s round up to 0.05)

Jay-Z basically paid you 5 cents per ad impression. That’s assuming you only have 250 unique social network friends. Add in Instagram, Twitter, Vine, etc… you may have 500+, in which case Jay-Z is paying you even less per impression. That price my friends, is dirt cheap.

You’ll never find an ad agency willing to commit to such a low cost per impression for such a highly targeted campaign. Hip-Hop/Jay-Z fans, in his key markets, plus with the appearance the ad is organic and not forced? It would be nearly impossible to ever mirror this.

In the end, Magna Carta may not go Platinum, but does Jay-Z really care? He bangs Beyonce and owns a basketball team. The chump change he would have made from selling this album won’t affect his lavish lifestyle in any way. The brand name “Jay-Z” is firmly planted in our brains and that’s all he really wants.

Kanye West paid millions to premier his video on the side of a few buildings. You promoted Jay-Z’s album to more people than all those cities combined, for free. Best Marketing Plan Ever? I think so…