AFI are currently in the studio working on a new album. But as part of the process they invited all their (U.S.) fans to make a 2 minute video about themselves and post it on YouTube.
The band will choose five winners and the sixth and final winner will be determined by the public vote. The lucky winners will get to fly out to LA, meet the band and sing on the record. Not bad for introducing yourself, eh?
AFI did a similar thing on their last record, I think it was a contest for members of their fanclub, the despair faction. The winners got to meet the band and sing backup.
For the release of their previous album Decemberunderground AFI created an elaborate online mystery. Those who managed to solve it and showed up at the right place and time were rewarded with tickets to secret shows.
There is now a new mystery in the making, check it out here.
The guy who wrote the posts explaining the online mysteries is also the third winner. AFI dropped by his office to tell him the good news. Why does things like this never happen to me?
But this is not just a contest, it's a great way to market the new album. Anyone who is participating is sure to send their submission to all their friends, encouraging them to vote. Their actions will create a buzz and be mentioned in blogs (such as this one), media and on forums.
The contest website will have people coming back to look at new videos and post their comments, keeping the website looking fresh and up to date.
All effective ways of spreading the word that AFI has a new record coming out at a small cost compared to conventional advertising. This is what viral marketing is all about.
Pre-release hype is very good for selling records.