NYC Braces For Ambulance Blues

Don’t be surprised if, come April 15, you see an electric guitar getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the streets of Manhattan.

On Tax Day, VH1 will stage a one-day guerrilla campaign to promote its “Save the Music” concert, which benefits the music channel’s Save the Music Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring instrumental music programs in public schools across the country. VH1 reps will drive around in a vintage ambulance decorated with VH1 decals and banners. Dressed in mock EMS uniforms, they’ll get out of the ambulance at several locations (including the jam-packed main post office), carrying stretchers with instruments strapped in them. “We purposefully chose a vintage ambulance” to keep things playful, says Nigel Cox-Hagen, svp of consumer marketing at VH1 in New York. The campaign “reinforces the idea that VH1 cares about music,” says Cox-Hagen. People dressed as fans will also be on scene to yell “Save the music!” and ask the workers, “Will the instruments be OK?” and “I hope they can play!”

The promotion was co-created by independent Universal Consulting Group in Boston and VH1’s in-house marketing team. The event is in support of a TV and outdoor effort touting the concert, which will air April 17 and include performances by Alicia Keys, Joss Stone and Mariah Carey. Since 1997, Save the Music has donated $30 million worth of musical instruments to nearly 1,200 public schools in 80 cities.