Bucket Drumming Makes Big Noise At Construction Industry Trade Shows

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The latest guerrilla marketing campaign for Sto Corp, a maker of coatings and paints for the construction industry, features "Ben the Bucket Drummer," a YouTube video submission contest and, of course, Sto paint buckets.

He wears a white jumpsuit, wields a pair of drumsticks and whales on a yellow bucket like a New Orleans street performer. But Ben Leathers isn't on some boozy, bluesy corner in the French Quarter, playing for loose change. No, this is something different.

This is musical marketing.

A long-haired kid from Lilburn, GA, who's already made a name for himself in the famed indie rock scene of nearby Athens, Ben's latest gig is making a lot of noise at construction industry trade shows across the country. Literally.

Ben is the beatmaker behind a "guerrilla marketing" campaign for Sto Corp, a manufacturer of exterior wall coatings and claddings. And he's drumming up plenty of attention with YouTube videos of his incredible performances, as well as spearheading a contest that invites participants to submit footage of their own "Stomp"-like skills.

But just who is Ben the Bucket Drummer?

Introduced to drumming at a very young age, Ben's first foray into rhythmic expression didn't exactly last very long. In fact, his earliest set of snares met a messy, mangled fate.

"At the age of four," he said, "I got a little drum set that I loved, but ended up dropping down the stairs."

Whoops. When he reached middle school, however, he got a new kit -- one he had to share with his older brother Chad. This one, luckily, remained intact.

"By my 8th grade year," Ben said, "I started taking lessons from a drummer named John LaMattina. I joined the jazz band at our middle school, and was playing in my church's youth band."

Entering high school, the burgeoning beatmaker had to make a big choice, one that would either have him pursuing gridiron glory, or another kind of stardom -- on the sidelines.

"My 9th grade year came," he said, "and it was between football and drum line, so I went with drum line."

Off the field, he hooked up with some neighborhood buddies to form the rock band Verity. And instead of pursuing drum line in college, he opted instead to keep ties with them, "even though we were pretty much all going to different colleges," he said.

"That only lasted through freshman year," he added. "Then we broke up."

But the demise of Verity didn't sour Ben's interest in making music -- not by a long shot. Over the next few years, the ambitious percussionist allied himself with several influential figures in the Athens music scene, and eventually began to become one himself.

Then, the ad men came calling. Ben received word that Billy Mitchell, founder of MLT Creative and the father of one of his high school pals, was seeking a talented drummer to take part in an innovative ad campaign for Sto Corp, using that company's most iconic image -- a signature yellow bucket, often seen at construction sites -- as a musical instrument in a series of viral videos supporting the slogan "For the world's best walls, Sto beats all."

"It was just when I was getting back into playing a lot," Ben said, "so I was excited. I went to Atlanta for a couple of meetings, got some buckets, and made a couple of demo videos. They liked them, so I got the job."

Pretty soon, Ben's talent was taking him to cities like Las Vegas and San Francisco, where his mad musical skills are always the talk of the trade show.

For more information about Ben or the Sto 2008 Bucket Drumming Video Contest, visit http://www.bucketdrummingcontest.com.

About MLT Creative
MLT Creative, located on the east side of Atlanta, GA, was founded in 1980. Its services include positioning, brand development, advertising, and sales promotions for B2B marketers. Its client list includes Sto Corp and Manheim. For more information, visit http://www.mltcreative.com.

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Chase Mitchell
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