Daft Punk and the smartest campaign in pop this year
The power of a brilliant pop tune to get everyone humming should never be overlooked
There’s another couple of weeks to go until Daft Punk release their new album “Random Access Memories”, but you know they’ve already aced the campaign of the year. What the French duo and their team did with “Get Lucky” over the last couple of weeks was a masterclass in creating marketing tease, manipulating a buzz and then actually delivering a whopper. Every step of the process was perfectly finetuned and calibrated. Not only do Daft Punk know what their audience want, but they also knew they’d a tune to justify such a silky, immersive campaign.
That’s the thing about “Get Lucky”: you just can’t stop playing the damn thing. It doesn’t matter if you come up with the best marketing push of all time unless you have something to ack it up. Once “Get Lucky” stops, you want to put it back on again. When was the last time a tune you heard pumping from the radio made you want to do that? You certainly wouldn’t do it with Passenger, for instance, another awful singer-songwriter that Irish radio audiences have taken to their heart. But we digress and that discussion about Irish radio’s penchant for the same old same old versus cutting-edge pop is for another day.
Back to “Get Lucky”. It puts Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers in the same frame and makes perfect use of their talents. A decade ago, Williams and his Neptunes’ buddy Chad Hugo produced 43 per cent of the tunes played on US radio. Rodgers, as we know all too well from his biography and interviews, was king of the funky pop tune, a producer and guitarist with the golden touch. Put ‘em into the mix with Daft Punk’s elan and you’ve a masterplan. When Rodgers talked about working with Daft Punk at Banter last summer, he was genuinely excited and you can now understand why. This was a bit of a gamechanger for him and all involved. But this wasn’t about getting lucky, this really was “Get Lucky”. You should be dancing? Oh yes.
What the tune also does is perfectly tees up expectations for the album. Let’s be honest, we really hope in our heart of hearts that Daft Punk are returning to the blue streak with albums that they had with “Homework” or “Discovery” all those years ago. We don’t want another “Human After All”. We want “Random Access Memories” to bring us back to the good old days, to turn a new generation of pop and club kids onto Daft Punk’s chic. We’re buzzing about “Get Lucky”, but we have our fingers cross for “Random Access Memories”. A sublime pop single is one thing, but an album which matches that velocity is something else entirely.
It will be interesting too if the smart campaign also extends to how the band push the album. Album campaigns are all about the hard sell, all about being in your face whether you want the damn thing to be in your face or not. We can take it that Daft Punk won’t be doing phone interviews with everyone who wants one and there seems to be little sign of a tour (well, unless you want to get to Wee Waa) so how this goes is down to how the album is positioned and, most important of all, how it sounds. An album chockablock with instant smash hits like “Get Lucky” would be quite the thing.