Beyonce is Full of Surprises: Buys Shoppers Gifts at Walmart To Support Big-Selling Album

Beyonce decided to forego traditional marketing methods, generating buzz in ways that may make the recording industry rethink their strategies.

They don’t call her Queen B for nothing. And she is a benevolent monarch.

Beyonce showed up at a Massachusetts Walmart this past Friday. And after tossing a doll in her shopping cart for Blue Ivy, she announced that she would pay for the first $50 of everyone’s purchase in the store, a total of $37,500.

Well, actually, if you watch the clip, it kind of unfolds a bit like a political campaign video doesn’t it. Complete with her hugging a baby.

As she says in her prepared notes, Beyonce is in Walmart because her new album just arrived. So after generating massive buzz by surprising the world with the album, releasing it with no notice on iTunes at midnight on December 13, she stars in a viral video where she’s just giving away stuff to cheering fans. And if you stick around through the end, you get shots of her name repeated over and over again across the front of her CDs.

Like I said, they don’t call her Queen B for nothing.

Besides being a great entertainer, Beyonce is proving herself to be a very savvy promoter. True, it helps that she’s one of the most famous women in the world whose songs drive people to a booty-shaking, hair-blowing frenzy. Myself included… Beyyyyy. But she also knows how to capitalize on that, which is key.

With no notice, Beyonce’s new album powered to the top of the iTunes chart, becoming the fastest selling album in the history of the iTunes store. “Columbia reports that the set sold 828,773 copies in its first three days, through the close of business on Sunday night, Dec. 15. Of that sum, 617,000 were sold through the U.S. iTunes Store, which — as previously reported — also set a record for the largest week ever for an album.,” says Billboard.

With all the money that artists tend to spend letting everyone know when their next album is going to drop, it must be making the record company very happy to have saved a bit on this release. Heck, $37,500 is a drop in the bucket. In fact, it must be giving other companies and artists lots of ideas about how they can pull this hat trick too. Lady Gaga was pulling out all the stops and every artist in her Rolodex — from Jeff Koons to Marina Abromovic — to get people to spend their dollars on “Artpop” and that didn’t go nearly as well.

But rather than resting after the Beyonce bomb exploded on the 13th (because seriously, with a full album and 17 videos, clearly the woman never rests), she’s shopping at Walmart, wrapping up a world tour, and taking all sorts of questions on an #AskBeyonce hashtag.

For artists with enough star power to generate this level of attention (Lady Gaga might have qualified before the latest album), this could be the way future marketing efforts go down.

Publish date: December 24, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT