Fans and Fanatics as marketing allies

Avril Lavigne's got a new album out, don't you know? Her publicity tour hasn't suffered from the mud she's been slinging at Hillary and Britney. It has also benefited from the unusual synergy in activities undertaken by her record company, her promotional street team, and her rabid fans. Nettwerk, the record company, concentrates on the usual promotions and Back Bone, her fan club. Team Avril, the street team, seems to focus solely on net-based promotions.

Avrilbandaids, however, is a 20,000-strong fan club that grew out of Yahoo Groups. The Globe and Mail tells us:

Avrilbandaids is seen as so vital a promotional vehicle that Team Avril lists Avrilbandaids as an important link for Team Avril members to use. ... Team Avril only gets about a quarter of the number of site visitors that Avrilbandaids gets.

Indeed, the visually sparse Team Avril site almost feels like an admission by Arista/BMG and Nettwerk that it can't find someone to administer the street-team duties with quite the same vitality as independent fan clubs. Meanwhile, BMG and Nettwerk are also co-operating more with Avrilbandaids, by providing the signed CDs and posters for the club's contests.

More from the Globe and Mail:

Avrilbandaids is also rare because of the amount of Lavigne-related visuals and audio clips it offers. At one point, the Recording Industry Association of America, the powerful Washington lobby group, got the site's Internet host service to shut down the site temporarily when it was showing exclusive promotional clips.

Yet, Avrilbandaids's reason for being isn't so much a place for fans to appreciate all things Avril Lavigne. Its larger purpose seems to be to act as a resource for fans to access visuals and other media about the singer, and then redistribute it all back to the world. It's the same street-team marketing concept used widely throughout the record industry over the past few years to promote acts, primarily those aimed at younger audiences.

One Avrilbandaids' contest currently running offers CDs signed by the singer to those who promote the new disc the most. Putting up posters, writing positive record reviews, mentioning Lavigne in other bands' Internet forums, all allow Avrilbandaids' members to earn points after they report back about what they've done. The contest ends when Under My Skin sells five million copies.

In