Remember MySpace? It would be understandable if you didn't.
MySpace was a pioneer in both social media and online music streaming. The network was based on building online communities for artists of all stripes, but really evolved to be the premier online hub for musicians and their fans. At its height circa 2004, the site boasted tens of millions of visitors every day -- most of them in the late-edge Generation X and early-edge millennial demographic that advertisers salivated over.
So great was the promise of the network that billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp plunked down a breathtaking $580 million for it in 2005, even though many who were much more well-versed in the market segment thought the price laughably high.
Of course, the naysayers were right. As other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn eclipsed the site as a social media property, music streaming sites like Pandora, Rdio and Spotify overtook them in the hearts of online music fans.
It's the oldest story in the marketing mistakes book: They took their eyes off their customer. In virtually every way, MySpace missed the mark, especially with millennials.
The result? Six years after coughing up more than a half-billion smackeroos, Murdoch's minions threw in the towel on what was by then a dying entity, selling MySpace for a scant $35 million to a group of investors led by Chris and Tim Vanderhook who included in their team the pop music and movie star Justin Timberlake -- a move that at least provided a bit of a PR boost.
Now, MySpace is mounting a relaunch of its brand with a reported $20 million ad and PR blitz. A 30-second spot began airing this week on Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2, Fuse, BET, Adult Swim and ESPN, according to Advertising Age. The spot reportedly will also appear Thursday during Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Obviously, it's way too early to tell whether the relaunch will work, but the deck is stacked against them. Most brand relaunches fail under the best of circumstances, and this one is especially challenging. The fact is the MySpace brand, if it is known at all, has become something of a joke among a good of the young people they seek to attract.
And, based on the preliminary reaction to the spot in comments on social networks, media and video sites, MySpace should be worried.
Here is the 90-second video from which the 30-second spot is culled. In my view, it misses the mark by a fairly wide margin. What do you think?
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