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The marketing of no marketing: How a sneak album put Beyonce in the spotlight

Published December 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Super-famous performer Beyonce never really disappeared from the public mind, but her most recent work is being hailed as an act of genius that’s certainly increased her presence online and got fans and media outlets talking about her again.

For those who haven’t heard the news, Queen Bey released a reportedly lavish digital album through iTunes with relatively little fanfare, especially considering the amount of collaborators that assisted with the project and its size.

The Los Angeles Times describes the self-titled “Beyonce” album as containing 17 music videos in addition to its 14 songs, which feature appearances from popular performers like Jay-Z, Drake and Frank Ocean.

The main subject of the conversation surrounding the album has to do with the way it was marketed. Or rather, wasn’t, since it was notably not given the same kind of publicity one usually expects from a major artist.

Well, sort of.

As Vulture writer Jody Rosen points out, this wasn’t really a lack of marketing at all, simply a well-managed campaign designed to take a different approach.

“It arrived with a press release touting its surprise unveiling as a relief from the usual multi-week-long PR-blitz rollouts of major albums,” Rosen writes. “Of course, the shock release is merely another form of publicity stunt, and a savvy one, especially coming on the heels of disappointing diva-pop blockbusters by Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears.”

This is good food for thought: can you shake up your audience by surprising them in this way? It might seem difficult to do with a well-known label, product, or celebrity, but if someone as famous as Beyonce can do it, there’s a chance your company might be able to as well.

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