The album description in the Wal-Mart catalog gives us a unique insight into the marketing strategy in place for David. It was in all likelihood not intended to be published as-is, but rather the result of a lazy or overworked Wal-Mart publishing arm that didn’t bother to re-write the distributor release from the label. Here’s an excerpt:
A series of multi-layered marketing and media campaigns will be implemented in the coming months to assure a chart topping album release. The primary target demographic of teen and tween girls will be reached through a series of high school and cultural initiatives the brand Archuleta as every girl’s “best friend,” “all-American crush” and “future heartthrob.” A secondary demographic of parents will be reached by emphasizing Archuleta’s natural talent as “inspirational,” “genuine” and “refreshing.” The week of release media campaign will include a series of live performances and appearances on morning and late night television programs, and Archuleta will perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, post-release.
Although the copy might be tailored specifically to Wal-Mart and similar retailers who expect to be selling to particular demographics, the positioning seems nevertheless to be quite narrow, and makes me wonder if Jive really does understand what they have in David. Perhaps his producers know, but one wonders if that knowledge has been translated to Marketing.
On the one hand, David has plenty of time to evolve his positioning to reflect the true depth and breadth of his work and the nature of his diversified appeal; on the other hand, there’s a risk in getting pigeon-holed as a teen heartthrob (even if it’s distinguished as a “future” heartthrob–that modifier sounds suspiciously like the result of a David-driven negotiation to me…!). Such narrow-casting may well make it tougher to transition to broader, more “serious” markets down the line.
In the language of the current political climate, appealing to the base has limited value. Those constituents will show up anyway. Jive would be better advised to establish a broad base of appeal for David–one that indeed reflects current reality more accurately–right from the get-go.