Raleigh Is Aiken For Some Tourism

Clay Aiken’s first album, Measure of a Man, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. But the real measure of a man, Aiken may now feel, is in the ROI from his direct mail.

The American Idol runner-up hails from Raleigh, N.C., and Brogan & Partners, agency for the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, was eager to get him to sing the city’s praises. So the Cary, N.C., shop got Aiken, the crooner of such songs as “I Will Carry You” and “When You Say You Love Me,” into the direct mail game. Visitors to raleighcvb.org can now sign up to have him send a personalized letter on their behalf to friends and family members, urging them to visit the “City of Oaks.”

“We said to the client that having Clay send letters to people, inviting them, would be good, [and] even better if it were Clay asking on behalf of one of their friends, who would be specifically named in the letter,” says Brogan partner Jim Tobin.

A Brogan rep says word of mouth, including “a viral campaign through Clay chat rooms,” is directing people to the site. And it seems to be working: The offer went live last Wednesday, and 750 requests came in the first six hours.

Getting to the star himself was easy. Execs from MRPP, Brogan’s cross-town media-buying partner, just strolled over to Sorell’s, a home-decorating store in town where Clay’s mom, Fay Parker, works. “We didn’t know who to contact, so we went to his mom,” says Tobin.