In early 2014, D'Addario released NYXL – the most advanced electric guitar strings ever invented, no lie. This was the company's biggest product launch in nearly four decades.
We ended up creating, not just a campaign, but an entire brand platform: logos, website, packaging, experiential (Play Fearlessly tour), social and broadcast ready films.
It wasn't all sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Yeah, we got to tour with bands, but we also had to direct and produce all our shoots. That meant working with everyone from roadies to sound engineers, to editors and photographers; we got our hands really fucking dirty. If you didn't know how to tune a guitar before this campaign, you sure as hell knew afterwards.
We didn't have to be musicians to understand what music means. It's something you feel. And what we felt was this:
The world is listening. Play Fearlessly.
For the launch of the NYXL strings, we designed a site from the groundup.
Everything from the IA, UX/UI...UPS, FEDEX, USPS, whatever other acronym you can think of, we did it.
The video above is a quick snippet of the NYXL site. All the photography (except the old vintagey ones, we weren't around then), videos, and visuals on the site were directed and produced by our team.
What do musicians all over the world want: exposure.
What do brands want: people to buy and use their shit.
As part of the NYXL launch, we created a totally new socially-experiemental-experiential experience. Did we check off enough SEO words there?
The Play Fearlessly Project was a "social" program created to showcase the sound and durability of NYXL strings. By taking a single guitar and passing it through the hands of as many guitarists (including Keith Urban, Vernon Reid, and other D'Addario endorsees), we were able to allow many of our participants to bend, shred, strum, pull in ways unique to them yet still relevant to similar players.
Performances were captured in person for two months before opening the experience up to our social channels via the hashtag #playfearlessly. The videos garnered over half a million views, hundreds of participants, and thousands of shares through various social media channels.
Bottom line: it sold a lot of strings.
A Rolling Stone Young Gun.
To kick-start the social promotion, we took the guitar on the road for a nationwide tour of Guitar Centers. Video "passes" were recorded to create a continuous guitar lick.
We also put the guitar in the hands of notable artists on the D'Addario endorsee roster. Blake Mills was part of a promotional miniseries on rollingstone.com called Young Guns.
No, we didn't get Bon Jovi.