Plain White T's Aim For the Small Screen
Plain White T's frontman Tom Higgenson has gotten a lot of mileage out of a crush. While most people resort to stalking on Facebook to pursue the one who got away, Higgenson wrote "Hey There Delilah," a bona fide hit that crossed over into the pop-culture lexicon. At one point, it reached such a level of saturation that the track's namesake appeared on NBC's "Today" to share her thoughts about the song.
And while Higgenson isn't quite ready to give up his first love, he and his band are ready to start dating again. After being defined by "Delilah" for more than three years, Plain White T's are getting ready to show their range as they release "Wonders of the Younger" on Dec. 7 through Hollywood.
While radio was and still is a primary vehicle for getting the act's music heard, the band's camp is making a much stronger push for a similar ubiquity with on-air TV promos. To help secure such spots, Plain White T's visited five TV networks in August to perform acoustic mini-showcases of their past three hits ("Delilah" and "Our Time Now" from "Every Second Counts" and "1, 2, 3, 4" from 2008's "Big Bad World," which has sold 1.5 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100), plus two new songs from "Wonders of the Younger."
"It was our chance to get in front of a bunch of important people and have that face time with them," Higgenson says. "With our band, our strong points are our lyrics, our melodies, our harmonies... We can strip our music down to bare bones and it's still just as effective."
So far their efforts have yielded three different song placements in five different campaigns: Promos for NBC's "Parenthood" featuring first single "Rhythm of Love," a breezy, Jason Mraz-esque acoustic number, began in August. A two-month term on ABC Family's "Secret Life of the American Teenager" kicked off in September. And on Nov. 8 the song began a 12-week promo run for Showtime's "Californication."
"Plain White T's are just so damn good in that [acoustic] environment," Disney Music Group VP of licensing Dominic Griffin says. "Especially with 'Rhythm of Love.' It's such a great song with a universal message; it certainly has made it easier to accomplish our goals."
In addition to the first single, new album cut "Boomerang" appeared in spots for ABC's "Private Practice" beginning in September, and ESPN started using the bold, thematic "Irrational Anthem" in October for a campaign that will continue through April 2011.
All of this activity has not only built momentum behind the first single, which has sold 207,000, according to SoundScan, but also widely exposed the diversity of new songs on the album prior to street date.
"This has been a huge opportunity for us. People are taking a bunch of songs off the new album," Higgenson says. "You've got to look at that as a good sign."