Shure’s Musical Roots: Scratching Below The Surface of Online Marketing in 2001/2

The year was 2001. Just three years before, Google and Yahoo! were launched. LinkedIn would not be appear until 2002. Facebook would not launch until four years later in 2004. They were some of the earliest days of sophisticated online brand-building and advertising. 

GrahamSpencer was fortunate to be asked by Shure, Inc to help them test the online marketing waters in the “most interesting, engaging ways possible.” The brand liked our work for another renowned Chicago-area music industry brand, Hamer Guitars, and wanted to see what we could do with their microphones and in-ear monitor systems products. Shure marketing leaders were keenly interested in finding a way to entice customers and prospective customers alike to engage with the brand online, not just be spoken to about the brand. They wanted to start a conversation.  

GrahamSpencer’s solution was Shure’s Musical Roots, an online contest, concert and cause. Alongside our client partners, we created a small promotional ecosystem in which musicians were invited to share demo recordings of their best work with Shure. The music was then judged by professional musicians and the best entries won Shure merchandise and, for a lucky few, an opportunity to perform at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California onstage at an explosive celebratory concert benefiting Hearing Conservation during the 2002 National Association of Music Merchandisers convention. 

The concert featured headliners Stewart Copeland (The Police), Corey Glover and Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Cheap Trick, Los Lobos, Sheila E., George Clinton, Keb’ Mo’ and many more.  It sold out quickly and Shure donated $60,000 to the Hearing Conservation cause, which was directly linked to the company’s then-new product line of in-ear stage monitors. (The primary purpose of Shure’s in-ear systems was to protect musicians from hearing loss and tinnitus – often caused by incredibly loud on-stage wedge monitor systems.) 

Over the next several years, GrahamSpencer’s involvement with Shure included work in the microphone segment as well as on another new front the company had opened with the advent of the DJ, tablist and scratch scenes: phono cartridges. It was the beginning of a entirely new urban musical horizon – and the revival of what had been a shrinking market segment for Shure. All of a sudden, the company was selling needles to musicians who DID want to scratch their vinyl albums. Their M-45 and whitelabel products were particularly successful and GrahamSpencer’s colorful, irreverent approach help drive healthy sales. 

If you’re looking for ways to help your brand stop singing the same old song, reach out to GrahamSpencer. We’d love see how well we might harmonize with you and your team.