|UNIVERSAL-MCA-JET SET 'XANADU' PROMO
Record World, May 31, 1980
LOS ANGELES - "Xanadu," the Universal motion picture teaming Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light
Orchestra as it's principal musical draws, won't reach theatres until mid-August, but it's accompanying
singles and album campaign is already off and running.
Universal, together with MCA Records and Jet Records, launched an ambitious program for the feature's
current singles and subsequent LP release last Friday (May 16) with a two-day gathering of major record
and tape accounts from across the country. With approximately 100 representatives of key rack and retail
firms invited, total attendance for the music and movie presentations was said to reach 245, including
executives from the participating labels and Universal itself.
Focal point for the huddle was Saturday's (May 17) unveiling of the MCA soundtrack package and the
projected long-range push aimed at clinching LP and singles success as a prelude to the film itself.
Attendees also saw a product reel featuring key scenes from the film, which is still in production, along with
an explanation of the ambitious multi-leveled advertising, merchandising and promotion blitz readied for
Already in release are the first two singles from the feature, ELO's "I'm Alive" and Olivia Newton-John's
"Magic." The twin release underscores the album's split between the two artists, as well as the involvement
of both John Farrar, Newton-John's longtime producer and songwriting ally, who handled the singer's
performance on record, and ELO's Jeff Lynne, who produced the group's selections and the title theme,
which features Newton-John.
MCA Distributing president opened the morning music presentation by introducing a troupe of dancers
from the film, who performed at several points during the playback of the finished album. Following a
greeting by MCA Records president Bob Singer, who stressed the album's crucial role in building
consumer awareness prior to the film's opening, guests heard the album itself and a breakdown of
Promised Bergamo, "We all know that 'Saturday Night Fever' and 'Grease' saved our business in 1978,
and 'Xanadu' will save it in 1980."
Sam Passamano, Jr. of MCA Records reviewed the release of the current single six weeks before the
album's arrival, slated for the third week in June. With the film to premiere seven weeks thereafter, MCA
will aim at the broad-based 12-34 year-old target audience for both the film and movie via it's own record
promotions and participation in a comprehensive joint media campaign with Universal. Set to run over two
months, that push will include national and local print, television and radio.
Santo Russo, MCA VP or production dev., outlined merchandising aids for the project via a slide
presentation, and announced a special merchandising contest. Five special point-of-purchase pieces
have been developed for use independently or in combined displays, including a singles display bin to be
used with each successive track release from the package, and suitable for twin titles as in the case of the
current release; a counter-top album display piece, a mobile suitable for use in hanging, window or
counter locations; a six-foot standup; and a poster.
According to Sam Passamano, Sr., accounts will be encouraged to utilize those pieces in customized
displays via MCA's three-month "Xanadu Extravaganza," which will award the store employees responsible
for the four best displays with prizes of $500. Runners-up will be eligible for prizes of $200 and $100, while
account owners will compete for grand prizes including a trip to Australia and a second place prize of a trip
Following that presentation, made on a Universal soundstage, guests were feted with a lunch on the studio
lot and then given a preview of the film itself, via the 22-minute product reel. Co-producer Joel Silver
underlined the movie's balance of '40's pop elements, linked to Newton-John's billing partner Gene Kelly,
and contemporary pop and rock. Universal director of Marketing Neil Lemlein then reviewed the studio's
media campaign, which will include "well over $1 million in national and local, prime time and late fringe
television," expected to hit 70 percent of the target audience. Extensive radio and print will bring the gross
impressions to 20 million, representing 90 percent of the target audience.
Carol Shapiro Janson, executive in charge of publicity for "Xanadu," then reported on key syndicated
radio, television and print promotions in the works, and independent promotion consultant Joan Marcus
outlined an ambitious fashion tie-in that will carry the "Xanadu" push into major department store chains in
35 major markets, with emphasis on mall locations where LPs will be available. Designer Jack Mulqueen
has developed a line of 30 dresses based on the costumes created for Newton-John, to be sold in
Special gift premiums will be awarded to purchasers of those garments, and the participating stores will
utilize full-page print advertising locally. That tie-in will kick off via a feature in the August issue of Vogue.