LAST CALL: Bellamy Brothers sing their own praises in awards bid

In the history of award campaigns, this one could take home the trophy - if savvy PR can help beat the odds.

In the history of award campaigns, this one could take home the trophy - if savvy PR can help beat the odds.

The Bellamy Brothers are the Susan Lucci of the Country Music Association (CMA) awards. Nominated for Duo of the Year 14 times in 23 years, the "reggae" cowboys, who sang country classics like "Redneck Girls" and "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me?" have yet to make an acceptance speech, and this year their PR pros decided to take matters into their own hands by hiring an unnamed campaign strategist.

Diana Henderson, director of media relations at Webster & Associates Public Relations and author of the brothers' press releases, says that the identity of the elusive strategist will be revealed closer to the November 6 ceremony. But until then, Henderson intends to pull out all the stops to humorously remind the public (not to mention CMA voters) of the Bellamys' appeal and staying power.

"What we intend to do is spread it as thick as we can," said Henderson.

"Everything about our campaign will be tongue-in-cheek. We want people to wonder just who the campaign strategist is, and keep a sense of humor doing it."

The original announcement, which claimed that spin doctors told the brothers they were overdue for a win, was said to be in retaliation for a comment made by fellow nominees Brooks & Dunn in which they said, "No matter who wins on CMA Awards night, that baby belongs to us." It features song titles in the singers' quotes. Howard Bellamy says, "Quite frankly, we've always felt that Lovers Live Longer, so we didn't want to enter into this For All the Wrong Reasons."

On September 14, Henderson issued a second release, which said that "an undisclosed campaign strategy firm" had challenged the other nominees to a debate in Paris on the very next day. Considering that the Bellamys were on a European tour, the other duos failed to show up, prompting a follow-up release stating the group's disappointment with the "lack of outcome" from the debates.

Henderson said, "We don't suggest doing this normally, but they've lost so many times. If we get enough people talking again, it will be a success."

If fictional representation doesn't do it, maybe the brothers Bellamy should talk to Lucci's people.

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