Q & A

MTV's Kelley Electa on Launching a North American Tour to Promote Rock Band

By Shilpa Gopinath October 2, 2008, 6:16 PM EDT

Panic at the Disco performing at a Rock Band 2 party

Photo: Jordan Strauss/WireImage

MTV Games senior director of promotions Kelley Electa is overseeing the Rock Band Live Tour—a traveling concert program to promote the video game Rock Band—which kicks off this weekend in San Diego. A new marketing concept for MTV Games (a division of MTV Networks that creates interactive products for its target audience) and partner AEG, the tour will visit 28 cities across the U.S., plus Toronto, ending in Texas in November. Before the kickoff weekend, we asked Electa about the strategy behind the new program.

Why did you pick the tour format to market the game?
We really feel that Rock Band is an authentic music experience, and we wanted to give fans and families a chance to really experience what it's like to perform live rock 'n' roll. We think that can be achieved by partnering up with some great bands whose songs are featured within our game and have a pretty broad appeal to our consumer base and let our consumers get involved with the show from playing Rock Band in their living rooms to playing Rock Band in an actual arena.

How do you tie in the video game with the concert tour?
The video game is both the title and focus of the show, and it features all of our headline artists. Besides the four artists that are performing—the Cab, Plain White T's, Dashboard Confessional, and Panic at the Disco—we also have the opportunity for fans to get up on stage and get that sensation of what it's like to be a real rock band by performing Rock Band on stage. We’ll be awarding those spots through promotions both on site and local promotions. They’ll perform in between the different artists on the tour.

How will the stage be set up?
There are two pods that come out from the main performing stage. There are video screens, branding, and two Rock Band setups. The game is really integrated with the set itself.

How is it integrated?
Out on the concourse, we have an interactive space with four Rock Band demo stations set up, which will be mini stages. This is where consumers can partake in playing Rock Band or come in and compete in a competition held nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. We will select two overall winners to perform on the stage [with winners determined by] the highest score combined with best stage presence. We are going to be focusing on stage kits and light machines exclusively for Rock Band that connect to the game and a light and smoke show with the songs we play. We’re going to be featuring the Rock Band stage kit with these setups and the stage kits available at retail. They allow you to have an at-home stage experience by producing a smoke and light show that syncs to the songs played in the game.

Pepsi Stuff, one of our sponsors, will have a kiosk on site distributing cards redeemable for free music. Best Buy is one of our partners, and they will be distributing coupons from Choose or Loose. They will be driving awareness about helping out our veterans.

Tell me about your partnership with AEG.
They are both the tour promoter and a marketing partner for us. We’ve been working hand in hand with them on developing the tour—everything from selecting talent to the locations to the integration of Rock Band to the promotion surrounding the tour to programming on air.

How did you select the tour cities?
We worked with AEG to see what markets presented the best opportunities for the tour. Production will be the same in all markets. These are all happening within smaller arenas, because our stage set is pretty intricate.

We haven’t really faced too many production challenges. I think that’s one of the benefits of AEG being a tour partner. They help us advance the show and just get the necessary approvals on site to host our program.

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