If music indeeds soothes the savage beast, the folks over at Ultimate Fighting Championship missed that Shakespearean memo. The organization has turned to the world of pop music to try and stoke more fire-breathing fans and tap into the crossover audience of house music-crazed youths. As USA Today points out, UFC already dominates the world of mixed-martial arts, but, just as its stars do, UFC would love to crush anything it has in its path and expand its fan base exponentially.
Once they become fans, there are plenty of DVDs, books, collectibles, and clothing to suck cash from their wallets, but how does something like UFC maximize its exposure to fans who may not be aware of its subtly and grace? Music, it turns out, is the channel UFC has turned to with the help of Canadian house-music DJ, performer, and producer Joel Zimmerman, who performs as Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse") sporting a giant mouse-head mask.
Thanks to a partnership with UFC, Deadmau5’s video for his new single, “Professional Griefers,” features the musician controlling a robot that takes part in an MMA battle against a robot controlled by My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way.
An added attraction for UFC to climb into the product placement cage with the media-savvy DJ: fans instantly receive "Professional Griefers" when they pre-order the new album (Title: "Album Title Goes Here") on iTunes.
"Our day-to-day mission is to build one fan at a time,” said UFC's CMO Bryan Johnston, to USA Today. "The thing with music and culture is we can bring in millions of fans at a time. You've got to have the balance between the two strategies if you want to be successful. Any brand, in order to grow, you've got to have a strategy that sustains your current fan base. But every brand, if you're not growing, you're losing fans. This is a complementary strategy that is building our fan base for the future."
Interestingly, no product placement deals were struck with beer brands for the video, despite two clear opportunities to turn the labels towards the cameras — giving UFC the exclusive brand placement (and a TKO) in the video.