Musical Connections

Given Noori's immense popularity, having the band on-board for a Mobilink Jazz promotional venture was sure to make the campaign a success. But then that's what the cellular company and the band must have known - that it would be a win-win situation for both. And along the way Noori went on to make musical history - by having played the largest number of concerts in a specific time - 110 in 42 days to be exact. And while that is a record within the country, the band is currently in the process of corresponding with the publishers of the Guinness Book Of World Records, as this may possibly turn out to be a world record.

The venues for the "Kis Ka Complex Jeetay Ga?" campaign were apartment complexes as well as open venues. A promotional scheme aimed at making consumers feel privileged to be associated with Mobilink Jazz as well as to invite newcomers to become a part of something memorable, the campaign was the largest BTL (below the line) activity carried out in Karachi. And so, from Nazimabad to Korangi, and from Clifton to Garden East, Noori played at two to three venues a day.

While there is a lot of hue and cry raised over music sponsorships maligning the music industry, how did Noori, a new band, feel about connecting a commercial project with their music? "A popular artist can also be a beneficiary to a business by helping create a bond between the business and its consumers at a level that is beyond mere financial transaction," was the band's response. Mutually beneficial was the buzzword here. "Not only have Mobilink Jazz sales been promoted, Noori and its music has reached out to a large number of people. An exchange that we feel is fair and mutually beneficial."

Managed by Bulls Eye, a strategic marketing company, the campaign initially planned solely for Karachi later included four concerts in Hyderabad on the agenda as well, on popular demand. While in Hyderabad, Noori says they have had "an extremely good response every time" they've played there, going to areas all over Karachi must have led to a better understanding of their fan base. "We got to perform for people with a large variety of backgrounds," agrees Noori. "Some of whom were listening to us for the first time. We went to Quaidabad in the Malir area where a musical evening was being held after four years. The best response we got was in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Nazimabad and Gulistan-e-Jauhar."

Logistically, Bulls Eye puts the average turnout at a venue at "about 150 people, while the total number performed for was roughly 17,000." Faizan Jamal, Brand Strategist at Bulls Eye says, "There were times when there were 25 people, and there were times when there would be up to 1000." Taking a cue from this success, will the campaign be taken to other cities as well? "I certainly hope so," says Jamal. With the hype generated, one cannot help but wonder how profitable the venture was for Mobilink. "According to my information," ventured Jamal, "the sales in the South region hit a record high right after the campaign ended. But the management at Mobilink would be the right people to judge the results."

Since it was a BTL activity, advertising was limited to posters and banners being put up three days ahead, as well as fliers being distributed.

Noori did not really anticipate getting such a response from such diverse areas all over the city, they point out. "At the beginning of the campaign we thought that with the kind of sound our music has, it would be quite difficult for us to communicate with some of the people for whom we would be performing. We were amazed by the fact that the people we expected to be least responsive ended up being our best audience. I think our fan base has increased tremendously over the period of this campaign."

With playing to a cross-section of people, did any song in particular get the most number of requests from the audience? "The requests varied from area to area," says the band. "At each venue where we performed there was a certain kind of response we got from the crowd which created a certain kind of mood. Accordingly, we chose the songs that best fit that mood." The band again points out that the response they got was unprecedented. "We were pretty amazed that people seemed to know and remember the less known songs from the album and even unreleased songs which we thought would not get much response in certain areas."

While all that acclaim was garnered in just one city through the campaign, Noori has applied to the Guinness Book of World Records as well. Things are still in the initial stages as far as worldwide exposure is concerned, and the band is not really sure what the previous record is, or what they are up against. "We have applied to the Guinness Book of World Records in the category of 'maximum number of live performances in minimum number of days'. However, there is a certain time they take to process such requests. They will be getting back to us very soon and we will know whether we have made it or not."

Fareeha Rafique
December 2003
The News International, Pakistan