Sometimes air guitar just isn’t enough

All music fans at some point in their lives aspire to be rock stars whether they admit it or not. Many have played a kickin' air guitar solo and for some, singing in the shower is a fact of everyday life. Alas, the dream rarely comes true and most of us are relegated to fandom - not fame.
Toronto's dream-making machine, MuchMusic (home of Gonna Meet a Rock Star), has come up with yet another way for super-fans to move from the shadows of the crowd to the glare of the spotlight...if for only a brief moment.

All music fans at some point in their lives aspire to be rock stars whether they admit it or not. Many have played a kickin’ air guitar solo and for some, singing in the shower is a fact of everyday life. Alas, the dream rarely comes true and most of us are relegated to fandom – not fame.

Toronto’s dream-making machine, MuchMusic (home of Gonna Meet a Rock Star), has come up with yet another way for super-fans to move from the shadows of the crowd to the glare of the spotlight…if for only a brief moment.

Its newest national promotion (June 17 to Aug. 4), called ‘Fan Proof,’ invites music fans to pen a 100-word mini-essay proclaiming how and why he or she is the biggest, most outrageous music fan in the world. Consider it a sonic dare. Although not mandatory, entrants can include any additional material, like videos or artwork, to set themselves apart from the rest.

Four prizes are up for grabs. Entrants can win a chance to meet, plus introduce new metal torch-bearers Korn at one of the band’s Canadian tour dates; chase down Canada’s own Edwin and the Pressure in a car race at Mosport Raceway; appear as an extra in Toronto R n’ B crooner Glenn Lewis’ new video; or have Our Lady Peace play a private show in the winner’s home town.

Set up in partnership with Toronto-based Sony Music Canada (the label all of the bands belong to), the vision behind Fan Proof holds a double objective: to keep music fans watching Much and to promote the artists at the same time.

‘We sat down with Sony and said ‘let’s do something big,” explains Randy Mauskopf, senior manager, sales promotions at Chum Specialty Television. ‘Usually, our promos are three to four weeks long. Fan Proof is seven, and four artists are involved rather than one. We wanted to make it bigger, fatter and something out of the ordinary.’

Sony, along with a little help from Much, is judging every single entry, which is a novel approach, because traditionally just a random sampling of 100 entries gets judged.

Budding super-fans drop off their essays or extra creative materials at FutureShop stores across Canada or they can enter online, at futureshop.ca. ‘It’s obviously an interesting contest, with very unusual prizes,’ says Pam Saunders, a spokesperson for the Burnaby, B.C.-based electronics retailer. ‘It appeals to core music fans, and it’s a chance for us to be tied into these people. It gives us a little more profile. The people entering the contest aren’t those who just walk off the street to purchase a CD, these are the real fans.’

By catering to the super-fan, Sony wants to garner ‘maximum exposure for the four artists during the summer months when retail sales are traditionally slow,’ explains Sony Music Canada promotions representative Heather Bodajla. ‘Mainly, it’s cool content for Much (they will most likely send a crew to cover each prize being fulfilled because the fan is getting involved with the band in each case) and more exposure for our artists.’

The contest will be promoted primarily via 30-second announcements on Much. They’re planned to consist mainly of band shots and video clips and will be supported by P-O-P in FutureShop stores across Canada.

Fan Proof is a result of years of partnership-building with Sony. ‘A lot of work has been put into relationship building with our label partners,’ says Mauskopf. ‘Since the dawn of MuchMusic, we’ve wanted to give viewers access to the artists. Most people don’t get a chance to reach out and get this close.’

This calls for a serious air guitar solo.