A Very Special Christmas - Big Machine Label Group, Clear Channel Communities & Special Olympics International
For the last 25 years, the biggest and brightest voices in the recording industry have lent their time and talent to Special Olympics to create the holiday album series – A Very Special Christmas (AVSC) – the single most successful benefit recording in musical history. More than $100 million dollars have been generated by the sale of the AVSC series to support Special Olympics’ athletes with disabilities. In December 2012, AVSC celebrated its 25 year anniversary.
The first AVSC album, released in 1987, included superstars such as Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and U2. All artists donated their time and talent, and producers and labels waived their fees. One hundred percent of the proceeds of sales of AVSC albums went directly back to Special Olympics and were disbursed to programs in need. Facing a changing music business landscape, the challenge was to find a record label to
produce and distribute a new AVSC album without a direct financial incentive.
Sensing an opportunity to lead the industry and demonstrate that cause-related products were not only important philanthropically but could also be beneficial to their label, Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) BMLG agreed to produce, manufacture and deliver the album.
Non-traditional marketing programs were created to generate additional sales and better tell the story of AVSC. Clear Channel activated 850 radio stations in 150 markets to drive awareness and sales as well as created a special iHeartRadio holiday exclusive digital radio station. Best Buy received an exclusive, special edition of the album and agreed to carry the CDs in their mobile stores as well as feature AVSC in circulars. A Coca-Cola holiday theme song was featured on the benefit album and incorporated into their holiday campaign, driving additional downloads. Via a collaboration with the Bowling Proprietors Association of America, bowling centers across the country sold AVSC cds at cash registers. For every album purchased, consumers received 2 free games of bowling.
As a result, 2012 was the largest AVSC album release in a decade – raising $1.2 million for Special Olympics, generating 100% increase in funds from 2011 to 2012. The project exposed Big Machine Label Group to new marketing channels, created new relationships and helped firmly establish them as the most philanthropic record label today.