Random slings & arrows

On Land And At Sea, Kid Rock Sells Much More Than Music

Kid Rock, an entertainer who clearly understands lifestyle marketing, is a case study in how to broaden a brand beyond its core product.

Kid Rock wave runnersIn addition to recording and touring, here’s how he also promotes his image and music:

  • Tie into a high-profile eventGold Cup hydroplane time trials and qualifying runs July 12 on the Detroit River, as well as free public viewing, are sponsored by two Kid Rock companies. Until he stepped up in early June, a cost squeeze had cut the yearly event to two weekend days. In addition to reinforcing hometown hero status, Kid gets to show off the branded wave runners at right.
  • Make cool stuff for fans: Sure, every rocker has concert tour caps and T-shirts. Only Kid has American Badass Beer and Made in Detroit wearables and accessories, including a Kid Rock Collection and stuff plastered with his beer, so to speak .
  • Host a four-day cruise: A 965-foot ship separates a king of the sea from small fish. At a splashy website and Facebook page, Kid promotes his fifth annual Chillin’ the Most Cruise next March from Miami to Key West and the Bahamas.

These off-stage ventures are similar to brand extensions by pop music stars who try TV shows (“The Osbournes”), theme parks (Dollywood) and restaurants (Margaritaville). And like those, Kid’s sidelines are crafted to promote his image.

Badass brew, for instance, is pitched as “the perfect beer for cases on the pontoon or a keg on the porch.”

“This beer hasn’t just been built for this American badass, it has been built alongside this rock ‘n’ roll son of Detroit. This is Kid Rock’s beer, and it casts the same kind of net that his music does: far, wide and all-out original.”

The iconic Made in Detroit company, which dates back to 1991 (Kid Rock was 20 then), had gone bankrupt when he bought it in 2005 “before another Detroit legend could head to dust,” as a mission statement puts it.  “An artist who stand for Detroit wouldn’t stand by when another bit of his city was taken down.”

Kid Rock performs two pool decks shows during his annual cruise.

Kid Rock performs two pool deck shows during his annual Caribbean cruise.

Hey, there’s no modesty in branding.

Bodacious boasting carries over to the annual Caribbean cruise, already filled eight months in advance. It’s a fan fantasy come to life aboard a floating party with casino, 13 bars and two pool deck performances by the host.

“Kid Rock will be rockin’ the boat from coast to coast with around-the-clock concerts from choice artists and DJs, parties, activities, contests and everything that makes this party Kid Rock’s party,” says an online blurb.

It costs $940 to $1,965 to get on board, plus bar tabs and other add-ons (including soft drinks and bottled water).

Veterans of past sailings talk it up at the Facebook page. “I went the 1st two years,” posts Nicki Kosiba of Capac, Mich. “It was out of this world amazing!!!”

And oh yes, Kid Rock also records albums and is on a Rebel Soul Tour through 27 U.S. cities that began June 15 and ends Sept. 21 . Pushing a wide-ranging brand is a busy job, after all.

This post also is at Deadline Detroit, a daily news site.

KR CRuise slide

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