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Memoir of Shep Gordon

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Shep Gordon entered the music business with no previous experience, yet he was able to turn nothing into great success. It all started when Shep moved to Los Angeles and checked into a motel. At that motel, Shep met Jimi Hendrix and Janice Joplin, who helped him on his road to success.

Shep was able to build himself and the people he managed from the bottom up through several different marketing tactics. In the beginning, when Shep realized that not many people were attracted to Alice Cooper, he realized that he needed to make a change. Shep decided that in order to gain loyal fans, he had to market the music as the disobedience of parents. To do this, Shep created a target market, which targeted the type of listeners who would to anything that their parents didn’t want them to do. Examples in which Shep turned this vision in to reality include: when he had the band dress in clear plastic and then tried to call the cops to report indecent exposure to gain media attention, as well as when Alice Cooper ripped off the head of a chicken on stage and drank the blood.

Another instance when Shep used a marketing technique to gain consumers (fans) of his product (music), was when he created a brand personality. He was able to do this by faking it until he made it. Shep had people pretend to be the paparazzi in order to make it seem like Alice Cooper was already famous and was worth inquiring about. He also had the band go out and party, drink, and do drugs so that when people thought about the brand, they thought of someone who was a music and party fanatic. This brand personality allowed for people to identify with the music and the band and want to be like them.

Yet, when Anne Murray came into the picture, Shep had to figure out a way to make a folk singer fit into his strategy and how to be able to make her a top hit as well. In order to combat the contrast in sound and ideals of Anne Murray with the rest of the musicians, Shep utilized mixed branding. Shep used the equity that the Hollywood Vampires and John Lennon had to market Anne Murray, and it worked! After having a picture with the Hollywood Vampires and John Lennon, Anne became the “it” girl for a few weeks and helped her gain exposure.

A final tool that was used by Shep was marketing sex appeal. There were many instances where Shep marketed sex appeal, but a few included the release of the School’s Out Record, and through Teddy Pendergrass. When marketing the packaging of the School’s Out record, the packaging appeared to be a school desk, and when it was opened, the record was there, under the desk. Shep came up with the idea to put a pair of panties on the record because it would suggest that only the coolest boys would have a pair of panties in their desk. Having that record would increase the attractiveness of the people who listened. Shep also sold out women-only concerts for Teddy because he knew that the women listeners were attracted to Teddy and that the sex appeal of him would draw in women. Shep was successfully able to market sex appeal because, sex sells.

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