Certified Marketing Strategy

Drake’s highly anticipated album, Certified Lover Boy, has been out for just about three weeks now and, regardless of how good you think it is, one thing that is certain is that you’ve heard or seen something about it. While the long-term opinions of the music vary based on unique listeners’ taste, one thing that is undeniable is that the marketing for this album is hands-down genius. The total marketing strategy couldn’t have been better as far as ensuring the album reached as many eyes and ears as possible. Let’s take a look at all that went into marketing this album launch.

Although we just got the album on September 3, 2021, the first teasers for it came as far back as August of 2020. We are all very familiar with artists telling fans about an upcoming project only for it to take what seems like forever to complete and release it. The first taste for C.L.B.  couldn’t have been on a grander scale. The video for Laugh Now Cry Later, a single not featured on the album, was filmed at Nike HQ in Oregon and featured Kevin Durant, Odel Beckham Jr, Lil Durk, Marshawn Lynch, and Druski. If you’re looking to generate buzz and pop culture interest there aren’t many lineups that can compete with that one.

Initially slated to drop in January 2021, just four months after the initial teaser, CLB’s release was of course pushed back. There are a multitude of reasons why this occurred and no one but Aubrey knows the real reasoning behind it. He’s been in the music game for well over a decade and knows that fans will wait, but in order to keep the mob at bay, you have to give them something to hold them over. Enter Scary Hours 2. On March 5, this EP was dropped, giving the streets three tracks, What’s Next, Wants & Needs, & Lemon Pepper Freestyle, to talk about until the eventual full album release. Even with that being the case, no one expected it to be another 6 months before we got to hear the finished album.

With the masses given something to hold them over, the next task (after all that time) is to renew all of the buzz and maximize the hype right before the drop. There are many different ways to accomplish this, but not many mainstream artists use guerilla marketing to get the job done. Complexity and sophistication are appreciated in a good marketing scheme but simplicity done right can accomplish the same goal with a fraction of the effort. On September 2, just one day before the album’s release, billboards went up in numerous locations including Atlanta, Toronto, Miami, Cleveland, Houston, L.A., Memphis, Chicago, New York, & More. They were a plain black background, which featured simple white text, as well as the CLB logo and some release platform branding. All of the billboards, regardless of location, seemingly popped up overnight worldwide and gave some of the shock effect that we’ve seen from artists such as Beyonce and J Cole who’ve released albums with no promo whatsoever until the project is already streaming on all platforms.

For a little extra garnish or “razzle-dazzle”, the album cover also has some fun with the album title and the 9-month waiting period between scheduled release and actual release. 

Whether you deem CLB a timeless classic or just another album that’ll have its short run, we can all appreciate the time and energy that went into pushing it out to the masses. What other artists/albums have had an all-time great marketing strategy behind their release? 

OJ Montgomery

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