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"When Lyor first mentioned to me we were going to sign Mariah, I immediately started thinking about ways to reintroduce her to radio."
——Ken Lane, IDJ Sr. VP Promotion
IDJ’S NEW, IMPROVED MARIAH
Promotional/Marketing Campaign Centers on "Humanizing" the Superstar
How do you follow a public breakdown, a disastrous album and movie, then getting unceremoniously dropped by your record conglomerate?

If you’re Mariah Carey, you get right back out there and press the flesh.

After inking a reported three-album, $20 million deal with UMG’s Island Def Jam Records last January for her own MonarC imprint—on the heels of EMI paying her $30 million to get out of its own $80 million, four-album contract—Carey isn’t wasting any time mourning her Glitter meltdown.

IDJ’s promotional/marketing campaign for the new album, Charmbracelet, which comes out Dec. 3, has centered on "humanizing" and creating sympathy for Carey. In a series of intimate meet-and-greets around the country, the label has encouraged her to get up close and personal with not only radio programmers and members of the media, but especially the superstar’s devoted following.

The label is committed to being patient with the first single, "Through the Rain," willing to wait until the December blitz of TV appearances kicks in. IDJ’s Lyor Cohen told the L.A. Times he wants to "methodically penetrate and gain traction"—in the marketplace, that is. With the record. We think.

IDJ Sr. VP Promotion Ken Lane says Carey’s promo blitz has already helped the record with programmers: "When Lyor first mentioned to me we were going to sign Mariah, I immediately started thinking about ways to reintroduce her to radio. We organized dinners with radio programmers in small intimate settings of 40 to 50 people, where she could spend an hour, just be herself and get people feeling they made a new friend."

The sweeping, epic ballad focuses on Carey’s patented vocal prowess rather than the hip-hop street cred she’s sought in the past. The Dave Meyers-directed video, which features a cameo by The SopranosJamie Lynn-Sigler and The Wire’s JD Williams, has already hit #2 on MTV’s TRL.

But it’s the personal approach that seems to have been most effective in "reintroducing" Carey to the public.

Added Lane: "I really feel that a lot of these individuals who had preconceived notions about Mariah didn’t get a chance to delve as deeply in conservation, and that meant all the difference in the world. People were hugging and kissing her, clamoring to take pictures."

The gatherings, held in Boston, New York, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and Atlanta, energized the radio community. Since the single’s Oct. 1 impact date, it’s been added to more than 100 Pop stations, with Top Five phones from Z100 N.Y., KIIS L.A., Y100 Miami, KISS 108 Boston, KRBE Houston and 92 PRO Providence, among others.

Among the promotion/marketing/publicity initiatives are:

  • A VIP listening party at New York’s Hayden Planetarium.
  • TV appearances on Oprah (12/3), The Today Show (12/10-11), an MTV special (12/3), BET’s Stevie Wonder tribute and Turnstyle (TBA).
  • Coverage of video shoot on Access Hollywood, Extra!, MTV News
  • Covers of Blender (Dec.), Allure (Dec.), Us Weekly, Latina magazine
  • Features in USA Today, N.Y. Times.
  • Single made available simultaneously on 25 websites, including all of MTV’s online brands and BET.com (9/25).
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