(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Anyone who's been to a concert is familiar with the Zippo lighters flickering in the air. Now, Zippo Manufacturing Company is presenting the Zippo Hot Tour, a promotional marketing initiative to support the local music industry and to find the hottest indie or unsigned modern or punk rock bands via an eight-city band competition search in Austin, TX; Palm Beach, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; San Diego, CA; Ann Arbor, MI; Raleigh/Durham, NC; and Boulder, CO. The winning band will be flown to New York for an industry showcase attended by major label A&R executives and will win a top-of-the-line equipment package.
From now to May 28, interested bands should to go to www.zippohottour.com to enter. Music fans in the eight cities will also help to determine the fate of one band.
Bands who enter before April 30 will be eligible to be considered as the opening act for a national headlining performance in June in their city. The contest consists of a three-part elimination process, with the winners selected by a combination of votes from fans (online throughout the nine month process) and a panel of music industry experts in round one of the competition.
For the "Zippo Hot Tour," Zippo partnered with FUSE, a Los Angeles-based promotional marketing firm, founded by Jeremy Stefan, a former assistant manager of Deer Creek Music Center in Indianapolis, to devise the on-premise marketing strategy and to design, implement and manage the search that will take place through the remainder of 2004.
The competition rounds are as follows:
Round One (June 15-August 15), "HOT OR NOT": Fans will be able to listen/download music and see photos of the qualifying artists. Visitors to the site will then vote for their favorite bands in each market. Additionally, the music industry panel will help in establishing a core group of qualifying bands. The judges will base their decisions on creativity and originality of music/lyrics, musical artistry and ability and presentation of materials submitted for consideration, among other things. Six to eight bands will advance to round two of the competition.
Round Two (October 1-November 30): "SEMI-FINALS": Each of the six to eight bands who receive the most "Hot" votes in round one will perform live at local events throughout the eight-week "Zippo Hot Tour" in their respective cities. Music fans who attend the live performances will be given a voting card, which they may submit to vote for their favorite band. One band from each market will advance to the finals.
ROUND THREE (DECEMBER 1-31) "FINALS ROUND": One band from each of the eight cities will be eligible for the finals. At this point, voters across the country will have the chance to vote for the band of their choice through www.zippohottour.com.
All summer long fans are encouraged to go back to www.zippohottour.com to check out the music and vote for the bands they want to see perform in their cities in the fall. At these shows, concertgoers will get to vote for the group that will go on to the national round in December. At this time, votes will be placed online to find the hottest band among the eight finalists.
"A sea of flickering lighters saluting the band, or what has come to be referred to as the Zippo moment, is a part of almost every live show," said Mark Paup, director of Global Marketing for Zippo Manufacturing Company. "We think our company is a perfect match for the concert and music industry and we're excited to support the local music scene and give bands the chance to become known on a national level." — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner