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Behind Hewlett-Packard’s $20 Million Ad Spend Behind Meghan Trainor, Beginning with Her New Music Video

The "All About That Bass" hitmaker continues her drive into the mainstream, with a few internet friends in tow.

The candy-colored, slyly satirical video for Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” helped make the 20-year-old singer-songwriter a breakthrough star virtually overnight, racking up over 270 million views on YouTube. And with her newly released music video for “Lips Are Movin” dropping Nov. 19, can she match her own achievement? Hewlett Packard, Epic president Sylvia Rhone and over a dozen social-media stars are banking on it, even if Trainor herself insists it’s all about matching her first single’s playful spirit (check out her cat-tastic wardrobe for starters.)
“We definitely wanted to make something as big and fun as that video,” Trainor tells Billboard. “We were able to make something at the end of the day that I am really proud of and excited to show to the world.”
But even before “Lips Are Movin” breaks any of Trainor’s own records (the video racked up an impressive 794,000 views in its first 24 hours alone, HP reports), its production is already something of an historic milestone in the realm of YouTube creators. The clip is billed as the first-ever music video to be created entirely by social influencers, with acting, chorography, set design, hair and makeup, styling and behind-the-scenes photography from YouTube, Vine and Instagram stars like Bri Emery, Marcus Johns and Cody Johns, Robby Ayala, Les Twins, Sara Escudero, Kristin Ess, Mei Kawajiri and Barkley the Pom, among others. Collectively, the 15 influencers posted 196 unique posts on their respective social-media profiles to drive traffic to the video since November 7, which in turn helped spark a boost to Trainor’s own social-media profiles — an 11% spike in Twitter followers, 15.8% growth in Facebook fans, 41.3% increase in Instagram followers and a near doubling of Vine followers.


“I think we will top [‘Bass’],” says Epic president Sylvia Rhone, who signed Trainor along with Epic chairman L.A. Reid earlier this year. “We have a much deeper reach into the social media platforms this time around, and with the influencers behind us, it shows that the video is not something that’s just ‘company-driven.’ The reach goes much further, and comes from very authentic and respected voices.”
Trainor and the social media stars will also appear in a holiday ad campaign for the HP Pavilion x360 convertible PC hashtagged #BendTheRules, set to include a 30-second TV spot (premiering November 26), radio, digital, cinema and in-store advertising through December 31. Rob Le Bras-Brown, HP’s senior vp of marketing, printers and personal systems, declined to comment on specific spending figures, but sources familiar with similarly sized campaigns suggest the outlay will total more than $20 million in ad spend over five weeks.
“We are delighted to partner with Meghan,” Le Bras-Brown says. “She’s a true talent. It was so refreshing to see her on set and her creativity, and her music is global which makes her hugely appealing to us. She’s bent the rules herself — just 12 months ago she was an unknown songwriter, then took to singing her own tracks, and now she’s a mega-star. It was very symbiotic.”
Trainor collaborated with HP on selecting social influencers for the “Lips Are Movin” video, as a personal fan of many of her co-stars. “Les Twins are incredible, I watch their videos all the time. I have been following Marcus and Cody Johns since their first Vine, and Mei — who did my nails for the video — is so incredibly talented,” she says. “I’m excited we were the first to make a music video this way, by tying in all the innovators and influencers. But it still feels very ‘Meghan Trainor,’ which is amazing!”
LeBras-Brown expressed interest in extending its partnership with Trainor further into 2015, which is already shaping up to be a very busy year. She’ll release her debut album Title on Jan. 13, and a month later will kick off the accompanying That Bass tour Feb. 13 at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom. “I think based on the conversations we’ve been having this past week, we’ll find other ways to work with Meghan,” he says. “She’s great fun.”