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“I am extremely proud of the exhaustive and innovative marketing effort put forth by the Giant team, which culminated in such a rewarding night at the Grammys, in particular, Album of the Year honors."
——Irving Azoff
STEEL THIS RECORD
Legendary Band Completes Comeback With Grammy Victory, R&R Hall Of Fame Nod
When was the last time a Grammy-award winning band was named after a dildo? Up yours, Eminem.

The surprise Grammy Album of the Year nod for Giant artists Steely Dan's “Two Against Nature,” one of four awards for the disc, has re-ignited the record at retail.

Label head Irving Azoff took time out from bench-pressing his wallet to comment: “I am extremely proud of the exhaustive and innovative marketing effort put forth by the Giant team, which culminated in such a rewarding night at the Grammys, in particular, Album of the Year honors. And no, you can't have Christina Aguilera's two-way pager number.”

Amazon.com reported a one-day sales boost of 4,500%, and the album's recent per-week average of 3.7k looks like it'll jump to 15-20k in post-Grammy retail activity. There should be plenty more momentum arising from the band's March 19 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which will air on VH1.

The victory culminated an 18-month-long, multi-tiered, multimedia campaign for the record, which has so far sold 1.5 million copies worldwide and is near-Platinum in the U.S.

Giant Records GM Larry Jacobson says the label will run TV advertising during talk and news shows leading up to the Hall of Fame induction. An in-store campaign tagging records with Grammy “Album of the Year” stickers is also underway.

Added Jacobson: “This project didn't lend itself to traditional means of marketing. We had to identify the audience and then hit them where they live. Our efforts were consumer-driven from the start.”

The setup began almost six months before the album's release a year ago February. The label conducted consumer focus groups to find out how both diehard fans and potential casual buyers would learn about the album, the band's first since '80's “Gaucho.” A strategic alliance was struck with Amazon.com, which spurred a record number of pre-orders, and a Top 10 debut on the album charts, with a total of 141k sold O.T.C. the first week.

Said Jacobson: “We said to ourselves right up front, this was not an NSYNC record, where people would rush to the stores to buy it on the day of release. This was a long-range project we saw paying off over time.”

An aggressive press, TV and Internet campaign resulted in appearances on David Letterman on release date and a PBS special in March, with VH1 “Storytellers” and “The Today Show” in April. A summer tour of sheds followed.

Jacobson points to the work of International/Communications head Susan Markheim, promotion execs Bob Catania and Jann Hendry, sales chief Shilah Morrow, the joint marketing work of the label's Kelly Mills and Diana Fried, along with Reprise's Rich Fitzgerald, John Beug and Gary Briggs, as well as the PR efforts of KSA's Kathy Schenker and Luke Burland for helping maximize the record's marketplace performance.

Concluded Jacobson: “Everybody made a contribution. But without the music, you don't have anything. Steely Dan created a memorable album that is deserving of every accolade it has received. Now Irving, about that raise…”

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