Bret Michaels (Un)Covers Billboard for ‘Maximum Exposure’ List

Posted October 11, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Near-nude Bret Michaels decorates the Oct. 2 cover of Billboard for their annual “best-of” feature on trendy marketing wins for music biz

After you skip pass the VEVO front page advertisement stapled to the Oct. 2 issue of Billboard, you start to realize that you weren’t looking at the official cover of the issue. The real cover looms on the inside. The date, Billboard logo and all the details on the issue’s features are plastered on a white background with a 90 percent nude photo of Bret Michaels exposing his chiesled pecs and guns and throwing up his signature “rock on” hand gestures. According to photographer Blair Bunting; those abs were not airbrushed.

The spread featuring the Poison frontman and rock icon seems like a move you would expect from Rolling Stone (with this year’s Lady Gaga, True Blood issues getting soft porno recommendations). But it’s a clever way to bring attention to their annual countdown of the year’s biggest paybacks in successful marketing and industry buzz tools. After polling a number of record executives, publicists, managers and brand experts, their 2010 round-up brings a few shifts to the advertisement game while also bringing in some new players.

As for Bret Michaels’ involvement in the feature story, he lands at #30: Starring Role in a Cable TV reality show. And that tends to work for artists these days. Fantasia, Keyshia Cole, Monica and Trey Songz have all been giving reailty-TV shows on cable and the fruits of their labor has giving them best-selling records. Bret Michaels, who tried out and won ‘Celebrity Apprentice 3’, amidst the troubling gloom surrounding his 2010 health scare of a brain hemorrhage and and a past filled with chaotic drug use, is once again back in the saddle with Rock of Love – a reality-TV-styled show that puts our star in a field of desperate ladies vying for his love and affection. All of this media attention has giving him a enjoyable path towards greater success. He hosted 2010’s Miss Universe pageant, was considered a candidate for one of the remaining judge slots on ‘American Idol’, released a new album Custom Built reaching the Top 20 and is currently working on a new reality-TV series, ‘Bret Michaels: Life As IKnow It’, based on his life. So far having a reality-TV show seems to be the most viable way of getting a hit record, but there are dozens of better ways to getting massive results.

Some of Billboard’s choices for smart, effective marketing, touched with HiFi’s voice of approval, include:

#22 – Album Displayed in Target Circular

Target customers buy music. E’nuff said.

#6 – Song Performed on FOX’s ‘Glee’

Last year, ‘Glee’ was #77 on the ‘Maximum Exposure’ chart. You know why it went up this year. Having your song featured on ‘Glee’, a show being watched by 9.3 million, guarantees instant downloads from the original artists and with ‘Glee’s’ re-production. That’s a double for all your trouble.

#7 – Album Featured as Amazon MP3 Daily Deal is really trying to eat away at their competitor iTunes. With $5 deals and free download offers, who can resist?

#72 – Synch Placement in Activison’s ‘Guitar Hero’

The product is a cash cow during the Christmas holidays. But think about it. As an veteran artist, your song will pass on to the next generation and will get you big boosts on Catalog charts.

#3 – Performance on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’

Although O’s show will be ending next year and will be moving to her new home on cable, there’s a lot of concern that she won’t make it on next year’s ‘ Maximum Exposure’ list. So far, so good for the Queen of Talk. Billboard reported that her decision to feature gospel duo BeBe & CeCe Winans this year, after releasing their new reunion album Still, gave them a huge spike in sales. The same happened for Idol runner-up Adam Lambert and Brit singer Susan Boyle.

#14 – Add In Medium Rotation at WHTZ New York

One of the biggest pop radios in the country, although facing major competition with Z100, continues to turn stars into superstars. Just ask Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

#8 – Performance On ‘ Saturday Night Live’

With an average audience of 6.2 million, artists performing a two-song set are bound to reach more people than they can do in a week of touring. 

To read the other contenders and power players in marketing, pick up the Oct. 2 issue of Billboard. If you’re unable to spot it, be sure to look for the nude spread of Bret Michaels.

We hope next year to see HiFi on the list. We’ll take #100 if its available.

To order your copy of Billboard, go to:

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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