Contrary to popular belief, integrated marketing communication can do more than translating a message to an audience. It can make you famous, just take it from the punk rock band Fall Out Boy (FOB). Through the use of social media, strategic planning, and branding FOB was able to become the biggest success in the punk/emo music scene and eventually make the jump to become a rock band. This is an accomplishment many have tried and few have succeeded. Though they obviously have talent, just look at their discography, IMC is what put them on the next level and let their fame grow. The mastermind behind the vision and IMC strategy is the band member, Pete Wentz. Wentz made sure FOB did three things to grow their band following: using social media, marketing to the correct audience, and having one message.
FOB formed in 2001, which was at the beginning of the internet social media craze where websites like Blogger and MySpace started to thrive. Wentz knew that the internet was the cheapest and most effective way to reach people who would be interested in their music so that they could pack venues and generate buzz for FOB. All the band members would post when they would play gigs and engage with their fans on a personal level; they established their brand as being personal with their fans and it gained positive feedback with their consumers. FOB still has a huge following; band members still try to stay as engaged as possible and have moved on to using their fame to do charity work for causes like the Jed Foundation (aims to lower teen suicide by offering education/counseling programs).
In addition to social media starting, emo music was popular and gave Wentz the idea to market themselves to fans as less of a rock band and more as a punk/emo group. FOB knew that their audience would be teens and young adults who listen to punk music. They knew that they needed a label that already was versed in attracting this audience to attend events and purchase CDs. This decision showed when FOB decided to release their first album “Take This to Your Grave” with punk label Fueled By Ramen rather than their actual label, Island Records. Island Records marketed artists like Mariah Carey and U2, not punk groups like FOB. Fueled By Ramen was a small but influential punk label that managed groups like Jimmy Eat World (left below) and Less Than Jake (right below) which had been incredibly successful in the early 2000s.
So FOB used the experts at Fueled By Ramen to get traction for their first album and it ended up being a smashing success. “Take This to Your Grave” is listed as one of the most important punk album of all time and gave FOB the ability to get future albums more exposure to potential fans. Once they gained the fan support they needed, FOB released their second album “From Under the Cork Tree” with Islands records and saw it climb all the way to #9 on the US Billboard charts. FOB went from playing in malls to playing Madison Square Garden and it is all because they knew how to market themselves.
The most important thing we all learned in IMC is to have one clear message. For FOB it was to play music to as many people as possible. FOB created a message that they were the band for any and all people. This translated very well to the group they marketed to because they were individuals who were trying to find themselves and used music as an outlet to express themselves. By having such a relatable message it made FOB very well liked and fans established a deep loyalty to the band. This loyalty is what sells out concert venues and makes FOB a household name. FOB helped people find meaning in their life through their music and was able to benefit from it.
In conclusion, Pete Wentz was an IMC genius and probably took an IMC course in his studies at DePaul University. Wentz made FOB a success by utilizing social media tools, effectively marketing the band, and having a unified message that was attractive to fans who were searching for something meaningful.
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