PR Lessons from My Chemical Romance

(This blog was originally posted on 10/5/2016)

My Chemical Romance (MCR), the New Jersey rock band who famously brought us the album The Black Parade, is stirring things up again. Despite breaking up in 2013, the rock band has managed to maintain a large media presence. They are lingering in the public conscious. How could this be? Without making new music, how can a band continue their artistic career? The short answer: PR.

The music industry knows PR well. Publicists must master media relations and branding to maintain a particular image for their client. The goal of any PR campaign is to influence people. As Jacqueline Akbarian, a blogger from journalistics.com, writes: “PR generates value far above and beyond album sales though. Once artists build an audience, they have influence. And influence, in any walk of life, is power.” Without further to do, let’s take a look at a few of MCR’s public relations activities that leveraged them back into the spotlight.

  • Cryptic Social Media Messages: The band posted a cryptic video on social media showing a waving flag, and flashing the date “9/23/16” on screen. Fans everywhere did not know how to react. Another tour? Is a reunion in the works? These optimistic fans were eventually let down, as the band’s lead singer Gerard Way said that the “teaser trailer” was for the 10-year anniversary album release of The Black Parade. Despite a mob of unhappy fans, MCR managed to dominate social media by exploiting the anniversary date of their hit album, accumulating over 1 million views on Youtube, and 230,000 likes on Twitter.
  • Slick Rebranding: Keeping up with modern design elements, MCR created a new black-and-white, simplistic logo as compared to their grungy logo from the mid-2000s. The group is finding subtle ways to remain up-to-date with their fan base without drastically changing their identity.
  • Cover Album: On September 14, Twenty-One Pilots released, in homage, their highly-anticipated cover of MCR’s song “Cancer.” Additionally, an entire cover album (featuring a host of artists) is being released on the anniversary of The Black Parade. MCR is beautifully pushing their name out there to rock fans, even to those who may have not been MCR fans in the first place.

After reviewing MCR’s public relations activities over the past few months, we can see that the band’s PR team are masters when it comes to media coverage, branding, and targeting their audience. By exploiting the anniversary date, being covered by popular artists, and creating interest on social media, the band’s name is as relevant today as it was ten years ago.

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