Universal Music Enterprises has partnered with Circuit City and Vibe magazine for an exclusive, multitiered "Back to Old Skool" promotion.

Centered around 20 featured UMe/Verve titles by current and vintage artists, the campaign includes a free eight-song digital sampler (accessible via a coded download card) and a 24-page Vibe mini-edition packaged in a CD whose cover resembles the classic manila Pee-Chee school folder. All 676 Circuit City stores are engaged in the promotion, which launched Feb. 1 and runs through March 6.

The eight-song sampler-culled from the promotion's recently released 20 titles-includes "Alright" from current Grammy Award nominee Ledisi's "Lost & Found," "On & On" from the special edition of Erykah Badu's "Baduizm," "Video" from the special edition of India.Arie's "Acoustic Soul," the "Dear Mama" remix featuring Anthony Hamilton from "The Best of 2Pac-Pt. 1: Thug," "When I Get Free" from "The Best of 2Pac-Pt. 2: Life," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" from "Stevie Wonder-Number 1's," "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up" from the Temptations' "Back to Front" and "Poetry Man" from current Grammy nominee Queen Latifah's "Trav'lin' Light."

Rounding out the 20-album lineup are new "20th Century Masters" best-of collections for Brian McKnight, Kelly Price and Salt-N-Pepa plus compilations from the Dells, Boyz II Men, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Janet Jackson, Jodeci, K-Ci & JoJo, Barry White and the Jackson 5. The albums are priced at $9.99 except for the Badu and Arie special editions, which are $11.99.

Each Circuit City store will position a merchandiser-complemented by a special header card-housing the 20 titles along with the digital sampler and mini Vibe (which includes a free trial offer and one-time discounted subscription rate). In addition to its physical store presence, the "Old Skool" campaign will be promoted via Circuit City's online site, circulars (reaching 80 million) and e-mail blasts to the company's 20 million-plus customer list.

Supplementing the aforementioned promotional efforts will be print ads in USA Today and Vibe. A one-third page ad in USA Today will appear in its Feb. 8 edition. Sequential one-third page ads will run in Vibe's March "Black Hollywood" issue that streets Feb. 15.

Declining to reveal sales figures tallied during previous Black History Month campaigns, Circuit City senior VP/general merchandise manager for entertainment Irynne MacKay says, "Music, movies and games continue to be our No. 1 traffic drivers."

Noting that this is the first time Vibe has done a CD project in conjunction with a Black History Month promotion, chief marketing officer Gary Lewis adds, "We want to continue to create different opportunities to connect with the audience and also create revenue streams in this particularly challenging business landscape."

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