Case Log #1: Volume 4
(Listen To) Volume 4 was one of the strangest and most exciting web 2.0 promotions, campaigns, mysteries, etc. It all started with the Instagram and Facebook pages of pro skateboarders Don Nguyen, Sammy Bacca, Brian “Slash” Hansen, and Dee Ostrander. On these skaters page’s they have been posting the quotes and using the hashtags, “Live Heavy Travel Light,” and “Listen To Volume 4” for about a year. At first I thought all these posts were just posts from true Black Sabbath fans trying to bring back attention to their 1972 album Vol.4, but that seemed a little unlikely. As I followed the hashtags and the skaters a very short 13 second promo was released saying “Live Heavy Travel Light, Coming January 24th/ www.listentovolume4.com.” Still a mystery everybody, everybody on social media thought that the group was going to release a skateboarding tour video under that name. On the website it was a timer counting down the minutes to 12 midnight on January,24th, 2014. On midnight of the 24th the counter went down to zero but nothing was displayed. The first thing everybody did was plaster the skaters Instagram’s and Facebook’s with concern on why the video wasn’t playing. By the end of the day the website was up and running. All the hype and web 2.0 commotions wasn’t about a video at all but a clothing line depicting the heavy metal skateboarding lifestyle.
As soon as the clothing line was released it went viral. Tons of skaters and pro’s posting about volume 4. Volume 4 did release a short tour video to Utah and Arizona called “Live Heavy Travel Light,” but it was merely a promotional tool to spread the word of their clothing. The brands description says “Volume 4 is: old records, faded denim, a sleeping bag tied to the sissy-bar, slappies, sludge, home-made tattoos, barely making your flight, and raising a glass to doing it all again tomorrow.”
The way the skaters marketed the brand had a lot of strengths and weaknesses. I believe the build up with the hash tags and the promo video was a very good technique and intrigued people to stay in touch to see what was coming. Although it could have been a little too vague not grasping the attention of their market. Don Nguyen did do a technique that was unbelievable and had other professional athletes not involved with vol. 4 talking a lot. Nguyen put his custom build 1972 Harley Davidson up for a giveaway. Everyone that bought a custom Volume 4 skateboard was entered in a drawing. He chose 100 people from the drawing and invited them to a party in California where he there chose the winner. This gained a lot of hype for the small company. There were tons of athletes and skateboarder kids all across the United States talking about the company.
Most of the advertisement and web 2.0 promotions come from the Volume 4 website and Instagram. In an interview with Nguyen he stated “the company is going to start small and grow by word of mouth.” This statement has stayed true; almost all of the popularity is just because of people talking about it. Their blog is only posted on about three times a month. The blog and website is run by Nguyen and Bacca. Instagram is also a big help in the social media side of things.
The recommendations I would have to make for volume for is to up the social media. Even though it seems to be working out just how they planned by spreading word by mouth, I feel if there were more interaction on their website and blog there would be even more hype and a larger fan base for the company. Also I think they need to put out video parts and film a lot more. In the skateboarding world one of the best ways to promote a person or a company is to release video parts. This is out skaters and company’s get heard. All skateboarders tend to love video parts, it gives them a little extra something to get them stoked on skateboarding. I also think if they did a tour, skate comps, events, or something with large crowds, that would gain a little bit extra momentum. As for the web, when I started my company I made an account on twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Google+, and Pinterest. I did this to just reserve the name and get my brand out there as much as possible. I ended up getting about 3,500 followers on Facebook. Volume 4 should do this. They already have the Instagram followers, but if they had a Facebook page (in my opinion the most important social media site) I think it would help them skyrocket. Other than that I think it is just a moment of time before volume 4 starts popping up all over the place.
BY: Landon Hale