Gimmie, Jimmy: Inside The Audio Gear Endorsement Game

Developing long-term relationships in the "gear game" is a two-way street of giving and getting...

One of my favorite stories about endorsements comes from a trade show in Las Vegas. I was having lunch with a friend and happened to overhear some guys from Sony talking at the table next to us.

They were describing a guy who had walked into the booth saying, “Hey, can I get an endorsement deal with you guys?”

So they replied, “What product are you interested in?”

And the guy answered, “It doesn’t matter.”

As someone representing a manufacturer, my perspective is that there is an “ideal” endorsement candidate, and of course, a “worst case” type on the opposite end of the spectrum. Most relationships between artists and manufacturers tend fall between these two extremes.

Nevertheless, I’ve always found that it helps to have this framework in mind so that I can strive toward the ideal while avoiding the worst-case types. What is “ideal” from the manufacturer’s point of view?

Simple – to have an artist provide you with quotes for a press release, exclusive photos for advertising use, and to use your product on stage for all to see.

All this for no more than the good relationship they have with you, the products that they enjoy using, and the sterling support you provide. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

All One Way
Now, let’s talk about the worst case types – the “Gimmie Jimmys” – as one of my old colleagues called them. These are the artists that want you to give them free gear and ship everything to them at your cost, overnight, at the drop of the hat.

And what does one get in return? Absolutely nothing except the warm feeling of knowing the gear is on stage with so-and-so. (Along with the “millions” of fans at their shows who clearly see that they’re using your IEM system. Right…)

They won’t do advertising, they won’t do interviews, and they won’t do meet-and-greets. That is, unless you increase the compensation package even further.

I’ve actually heard of cases where manufacturers paid artists in addition to giving them free gear. In one case, it was half a million. As in dollars. No joke.

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