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The Who

Pete Townshend's windmill

I was at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.

At 3am on Saturday night, I looked back down the valley. Half a million people were on their feet as The Who stormed through Tommy. I was close to the stage, and watched Townshend’s windmill with delight.

A couple of months ago, I received an email from The Who inviting me to make a home video of me, or of anyone else who took my fancy, doing the Townshend Windmill. This email went to their worldwide fanbase, so it wasn’t just to me.

I regularly hear from The Who and from their management. I get news, advance booking options, DVD and CD offers, news about the charities Townshend supports and so on. I’ve seen the band many times, and will, I hope see them many times more. It’s true that I once nearly killed Roger Daltrey in Soho as he crossed Old Compton Street, but I was on a motorbike at the time so it’s unlikely he would recognise me.

The Windmill promotion was a bit weird.

The prize for the best video was a Stratocaster guitar signed by Townshend. What was weird was that you didn’t need to buy anything to enter the competition. On reflection, though, the idea was very sensible.

Junk mail, or spam, probably makes up 80% of the world’s email volume. Spam filters do a fairly good job, but a lot of rubbish does get through. I’ve just had a phishing one from a French email address congratulating me on winning €1m. All I need to do is to give them my bank details and they’ll pay in the dosh.

The Who’s email marketing campaign management is very careful to make sure that what it sends out is welcomed by the recipients, including me. How many emails arrive which are really welcome? Not many.

But the Windmill competition was a bit of fun, with a good prize at the end, and it kept The Who’s fanbase feeling warm about the band.

And that’s good digital marketing. Click here to see the winning video.