Edelman takes on digital piracy in PSA at Grammys

LOS ANGELES: As part of the Grammy Awards broadcast last week, the Recording Academy and Edelman launched a public awareness effort against digital piracy.

LOS ANGELES: As part of the Grammy Awards broadcast last week, the Recording Academy and Edelman launched a public awareness effort against digital piracy.

The campaign, whose centerpiece is a television PSA developed by Blue, Edelman's advertising arm, and an ad by show sponsor Heineken, added some heft to a broadcast usually dominated by musical performances and the antics of the attendees.

"It was the first time the Recording Academy used the Grammys to launch anything like this," said Gail Becker, Edelman's west coast president. "I think that in itself is newsworthy. Any award show from a PR perspective has a captive audience, and you don't see a lot of organizations leveraging that type of window to get out their message."

The PSA helped draw significant traffic to the campaign's website, www.whatsthedownload.com. The website drew 82,000 visitors in the first 48 hours and 40,000 on the third day, and has seen considerable activity on its message boards.

The PSA, called "Club," depicts a girl downloading a song, while club-goers dance to it. When the download is complete, the music in the club stops.

The scene implies the potential effects downloading has on the music industry. For a while now, industry executives have blamed downloading and file-sharing on slow retail sales. Last year, the industry's trade association began filing lawsuits against people who download music.

Becker said that the future of the campaign might involve getting the message into classrooms. "We're taking in feedback and developing ways to move forward," she said.

Edelman is also working with the Motion Picture Association of America on its campaign against digital piracy.

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