Maroon 5 keyboardist Jesse Carmichael is a pretty Zen kind of guy, at least that’s the way he’s portrayed in a new 90-second online video for Steinway & Sons. Just back from a grueling tour with his Grammy-winning rock band, the flannel-clad Carmichael seeks solace in his book-filled music room where a long black piano stretches out atop an Aztec rug.
“I come home from a Maroon 5 tour, and maybe I’ve spent a month and a half traveling from a different city to a different city every day,” Carmichael’s voice narrates as he plays in the spot below. “This piano physically connects me back to being home.”
The piano in question (a Model B grand with an ebony satin finish) is an attention grabber. And so is the video: It’s one part of a sweeping new marketing effort for the American piano maker—the largest branding initiative in its 163-year history. Some of the pieces quietly appeared this week; the ad campaign makes its official debut Monday. New York-based Light + Co is the agency behind the effort.
Synonymous with concert hall pianos, Steinway Piano might seem like one of those rare companies that doesn’t need to do much marketing. And, in fact, Steinway generally hasn’t. But the acoustic piano business isn’t what it used to be. At a time when fewer kids are taking lessons, electronic keyboards have steadily gnawed at market share and competition from less expensive foreign brands rumbles like a minor chord, even the legendary Steinway sees the need to sing its own praises.
“There are drastic changes in the market, and it’s up to us to do something about it,” said Steinway CMO Darren Marshall. “We have an absolutely iconic brand, a product that is the peak of quality and excellence, and we have such a great equity in that space, but we haven’t talked about it in a long time.”
In fact, he added, “We haven’t talked about anything in a long time.”
Steinway is talking now—with a series of videos featuring influential tastemakers, a revamped website and a new ad campaign. In some instances its message is a familiar one: Steinway pianos are still made by hand, here in the United States. But Steinway is also attempting to present itself as a brand in step with the digital times.
Robert Klara in Adweek