TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: ’N Sync may be a sure thing, but Jive records goes in for the kill

It may seem easy: take a top-selling music act like ’N Sync, offer them up to the country’s choicest media outlets and sit back while the PR engine purrs sweetly. That said, Jive Records, which unleashed the band’s album on the public nearly two weeks ago, wants you to know that it wasn’t really all that cut and dry.

It may seem easy: take a top-selling music act like ’N Sync, offer them up to the country’s choicest media outlets and sit back while the PR engine purrs sweetly. That said, Jive Records, which unleashed the band’s album on the public nearly two weeks ago, wants you to know that it wasn’t really all that cut and dry.

It may seem easy: take a top-selling music act like ’N Sync, offer

them up to the country’s choicest media outlets and sit back while the

PR engine purrs sweetly. That said, Jive Records, which unleashed the

band’s album on the public nearly two weeks ago, wants you to know that

it wasn’t really all that cut and dry.



Yes, the album couldn’t have been that tough a sell, given the legions

of fans who gobbled up 1.1 million copies of No Strings Attached during

its first day. But Jive succeeded largely because it took nothing for

granted.



’It’s all about TV,’ explains Sonia Muckle, Jive’s VP of publicity.

’Once we knew that we officially had the group back in November

(following a legal spat during which the band’s future with the label

was in doubt), we set our release date and started booking.’



Jive’s publicists booked the group for appearances on The Rosie

O’Donnell Show (the group snared a rare hour-long segment) and MTV’s

Super Bowl weekend extravaganza. Each TV appearance put the band in

front of live audiences of screaming teens, thus generating a sense of

excitement that money can’t buy.



The booking formula allowed for an ever-increasing frequency of on-air

appearances leading up to the release date. By March 21, it was all ’N

Sync, all the time.



’Everybody wants a piece of the teen market,’ says Muckle, who insists

that the campaign wasn’t necessarily a slam dunk from the get-go. ’You

have to give them something they haven’t seen before.’



Even Saturday Night Live got in on the act. Usually a venue for more

hard-hitting rock and roll, ’N Sync not only performed the requisite two

songs, but was invited to romp with the cast in a few sketches.



’The boys can act,’ Muckle says. ’We gave SNL the opportunity to explore

that.’



Less obvious methods were also a part of the Jive publicity formula.



Though Muckle declines to elaborate, she hints, ’We always incorporate

street teams on the Internet and in the schools’ - giving rise to an

image of teens chatting up the band on the Web while braiding each

other’s hair.



The success of the boy-band boom and the lure of rocketing record sales

has network TV jumping on board. Shades of Jive Records’ publicity

tactics are evident in ABC’s promos for the network’s multi-part

pop-umentary Making the Band (which seeks to document the formation of

the 32,000th ’N Sync clone).



The stars-in-waiting have personal pages on the ABC Web site, and word

on the street is that some of the boys are already starting to receive

fan mail. Can fanzine covers be far behind?



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