Biggest Grammy ad campaign launches

Thom Yorke, Rihanna participate in TV promotion

NEW YORK -- The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences on Monday launches the biggest advertising campaign in the organization's history for the 51st annual Grammy Awards.

Developed by ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day the campaign includes television, radio, out of home, print, and online. In the TV ads, portraits of singers such as Thom Yorke, Rihanna and Stevie Wonder are drawn onscreen using titles of songs that were critical to their development. The artists are heard talking about importance of music. Yorke's participation is particularly noteworthy because the reclusive frontman for Radiohead rarely does commercial ads.

Print and online will be similar though will use different artists such as Lil Wayne, Lenny Kravitz and Kanye West. Whether the artists seen in the campaign will play a role in the ceremony remains unclear. "We're hoping to bring everything to reality and I can't comment beyond that," TBWA executive creative director Rob Schwartz said.

The academy needs the campaign to get viewers to tune after last year's awards were the third-least-watched in Grammy history and is promising "surprises" during the telecast. According to Evan Greene, the academy's CMO, the campaign cost "in the multimillions" and is the most the organization has spent on an ad campaign in its history.

"What we wanted to do is focus on artists that are iconic or are making important contributions to music," Greene said. "The Grammys are more than a music event, they are a cultural event."