CP+B’s Sirius Message Is the Medium

NEW YORK To promote Sirius Satellite Radio as a viable option to its commercial counterpart, Crispin Porter + Bogusky matched the message to an alternative medium—a street ‘zine.

On Sunday, CP+B’s print insert will run in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. It will also be distributed in New York at Virgin Megastore outlets and Madison Square Garden.

The 20-page publication delivers a manifesto about the state of commercial radio and why Sirius, whose 60 music stations are commercial-free (subscribers pay a monthly fee), should be seen as the perfect antidote.

“There’s so much happening within the music culture right now with downloading and MP3-ing, and the music industry is struggling to stay alive,” said Andrew Keller, group creative director at the Miami agency. “We wanted to make our position clear. We’re behind the music.”

On extra grainy newsprint, white block type conveys what’s “On” and what’s “Off.” Stock photography illustrates the copy points. For example, “expression_ON” appears next to an image of the Statue of Liberty, while “sameness_OFF” is accompanied by a battalion of babies who look alike. Body copy reads in part, “When was the last time someone spun a song just because they believed in its ideas?” The tagline is “It’s_ON.”

The newspaper format seemed right, Keller said, because “it feels very now and current.”

“Its also important because [the publication] is not something we want to be really glossy and commercialized,” Keller said. “We really want the feel of it to be grass-roots.”

Campaign spending is estimated at $3 million. Sirius spent about $9 million in measured media during the first 11 months of 2002, per CMR.

Copy in the insert conveys the same “On/Off” theme used in the six TV spots created for the campaign, two of which will air during the Grammy Awards this Sunday night. The first spot, which broke Feb. 3, featured music by hip-hop artist Dr. Octagon and showed abstract shots of a turntable.

Print ads are scheduled for magazines such as Esquire, FHM, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone and Spin.

Creative director on the campaign was Alex Bogusky. Art director was Mark Taylor. Copywriters were Dave Schiff, Bill Wright and Ari Merkin.