“You’ll think of me,” crooned Keith Urban in his Grammy-winning hit of the same name. Now he wants you to think of him when shopping for a new acoustic guitar.
In the latest example of entertainers cross-marketing their image to promote lines of consumer goods, the country singer last month unveiled his newest “limited edition” URBAN guitars—part of what he calls the “Light the Fuse” package, which includes an acoustic guitar (available in five colors), a 15-watt amp, a “leather-like” guitar case, four signature picks, a spare set of strings, a chord-chart poster, and a DVD guitar lesson instructed by none other than Urban himself.
The guitar kit, named for his 2013 album Fuse, is priced at $289.95 and is only available at the Home Shopping Network’s website, HSN.com.
The Keith Urban Universal Foldable Guitar Stand is offered separately for $29.95.
The 46-year-old singer and American Idol judge told HSN that he “hopes the people will find the expression that they don’t otherwise have” through his budget-priced guitars.
Urban certainly isn’t the first country artist to sell his own product line. Kenny Rogers has been selling “deliciously healthy” roasted chicken for more than 20 years, the late George Jones peddled sausage, and Dolly Parton warmed many a head with her string of wigs. Recently, singer John Rich launched a “Redneck Riviera” set of t-shirts and accessories—and several country artists have their own lines of perfume (Urban among them).
Though celebrity branding has been around since the days your great-great grandfather smoked Mark Twain Cigars, the trend has certainly proliferated in the last decade. And for a simple reason: Pairing the right personality with the right product can be quite financially lucrative. Jessica Simpson, for instance, has 29 separate lines of style accessories and, according to the LA Times, her retail sales surpassed $1 billion last year.
While guitars are a far cry from a product like, say, Dwight Yoakam’s Bakersfield Biscuits, Urban’s axes are so far selling like hotcakes.
Within eight hours of Urban’s HSN appearance in May announcing the new line of instruments, more than 22,000 “Light the Fuse” packages were sold—which beat the 20,000 packages of his “limited edition” Phoenix line of guitars the Aussie country star moved last fall.
However, not every celebrity brand is a guaranteed slam dunk. Or, put it this way. When’s the last time you purchased a jar of David Lynch Organic House Roast coffee with change you found on the beach using your Bill Wyman Signature Metal Detector?
But the expanding number of celebrities lining up to have their own product lines is hard to ignore, and the nearly $8 million in revenue expected in North America this year from non-athlete-linked merchandise (according to industry trade publication Licensing Letter) is enough to have many fanboys and fangirls jumping out of their socks.
Whether they’re Rob Kardashian’s line of $30 designer sock remains to be seen.
Check out Urban performing “You’ll Think of Me” in the above clip from 2012.
By Jason Walsh