Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Beer Brands Under Pressure Over Music Sponsorship

So Long Carling Weekender

Originally Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in "Songs for Soap" blog on 12.12.07 @ 05:49 PM

Over on the other side of the pond, there has been increasing speculation that UK brewers are buckling to the anti-alcohol advertising lobby. Prime example: Coors Brewers' number-one-selling UK Brand Carling has pulled out of two of its major sponsorships, the Leeds and Reading Rock festivals, which they've been involved in for 10 years.

Coors/Carling denies it's ditching music as a core part of its strategy and that it would instead be focusing its involvement on live venue sponsorship -- the brand has a series of Carling Academy venues across the country, where there is arguably more control over underage drinking than at festivals.

However, the pressure on brewers is increasing; some government advisers are calling for a total ban on alcohol advertising at music events. As part of a major crackdown on binge drinking among young people, The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has lodged a series of proposals which aim to outlaw alcohol promotion on TV, the internet and in most cinemas. The body also wants to slap a ban on brewers' sponsorship of music festivals and concerts.

All over the world, from New Zealand to Thailand, there are similar calls to ban alcohol advertising and sponsorships, with critics citing the influence that these partnerships have on youth and underage binge drinking. But at the same time an increasing number of big events are drawing in big money from beer company sponsors. Carling aside, in Scotland Tennent's sponsors T in the Park, Heineken backs Benicassim in Spain and Oxegen in Ireland and Miller sponsors South by South West in Texas.

Hard to say where the suds will settle, but stay tuned, because, along with the big music fest trend, the big alcohol sponsorship backlash may be poised to land on American shores soon. What happens in Europe hardly ever stays there.

Led Zeppelin Paints a Marketer's Dream

Writing on the Wall: Band Is Back, Fans Have Followed

Originally Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad "Songs For Soap" on 12.11.07 @ 10:49 AM

"It's been a long time since we rock and rolled."

But rock n' roll they did, as Led Zeppelin hit the stage for the first time in 27 years last night in a tribute concert to Ahmet Ertegun, the late founder of Atlantic Records. The media and fan frenzy has been phenomenal, with tickets available by ballot only via the Ahmet Ertegun Foundation tribute website, where over one million fans vied for 18,000 tickets.

Rumors of a world tour to follow have been circling for weeks, and, while as a Led Zeppelin Fan (and attendee of their last full concert as a schoolboy back in 1979) this is exciting enough in itself, the phenomenal staying power of a great rock band is exciting from a marketing perspective too. With the war in Iraq still raging and the reluctant acknowledgment of baby boomers' spending power, marketers have been evoking the 1960's again to sell products, and Zep is a major touchstone of the era.

Linking a brand to a Led Zeppelin tour could be a global marketer's dream; the legendary group's appeal transcends age, class, nationality and evokes emotion that any band or brand would die for. Check out this piece from BBC News and witness the cross-section of the audience and the sheer emotion of being there.

Led Zeppelin have always been very protective of their repertoire and have seldom allowed their works to be licensed, though in recent years their position has softened on the issue. Cadillac used the song "Rock and Roll" in their "breakthrough" commercial, and the songs of Led Zeppelin can be heard in movies such as "One Day in September," "School of Rock" and even "Shrek the Third" -- it was "Immigrant Song" in all three.

Whether the band would allow a brand to be associated with them in a broader way is a big question, but if a marketer were lucky enough to get the opportunity, they'd certainly be generating a "Whole Lotta Love" with consumers.

Collaborations That Defy Labels

Harvest Plans to Eschew Record Industry to Let Brands Fund New Music

Posted originally by Mike Tunnicliffe on 12.05.07 @ 10:29 AM

Harvest, a new London-based brand-music partnership company, has come up with a novel way to unite corporate brands with established global musical acts.

Brands will fund the recording, production, marketing, promotion and the release of an album -- all without the need for a record label. The music can then be distributed in any way possible, at any price, even given away free or offered as part of any number of deals.

Under the plan, artists will retain copyrights to any new material while being paid a fee for allowing their intellectual property to be used for promotion. The brand could then use artist's image and new music in advertising, sponsor a tour or even look into alternative means of distributing an act's album, a la The Mail on Sunday's recent Prince and Travis album giveaways in the UK.

Harvest, headed by Ric Salmon, a former A&R executive at Warner Music, has nabbed some impressive senior executive talent, including former chairman and CEO, Warner Music International, Paul Rene-Albertini, UK Music VC Edge Group founder David Glick and Naked Communications' Matt Jagger, who headed Naked Ventures.

More Automotive Brands Taking Entertainment on the Road

Ford, Volvo Grab High-Def Radio Dial

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe on Ad Age Songs For Soap12.03.07 @ 12:24 PM

Last week Volvo and Ford Motor Company announced significant new developments in their dashboard installation programs.

Volvo is embracing next generation HD Technology, which will let drivers listen to subscription-free high-definition broadcasting, currently available on more than 1,500 U.S. AM and FM radio stations and some 700 free "HD2 multicast" channels on the FM dial. In addition to the sound-quality improvement, Volvo says, traffic and weather updates, song information and emergency alerts can be displayed on the radio's screen. This will give BMW some competition in the HD radio space, where it has been fitting the radios as a standard feature since 2004 on selected models and across the whole fleet this year.

Meanwhile, Ford is expanding its roll-out of factory-fitted Sirius satellite receivers across all models. The company has already installed over 1 million to date, but is still far behind GM, who put its 1 millionth XM Satellite receiver in a car way back in 2004.

All of this is great news for consumers, who have an ever-increasing supply of high-quality programming on channels that cover all musical tastes and genres from bluegrass to classical, as well as numerous talk stations. It's also good news for brands. Although limited on most satellite and some HD channels, advertising on high-def radio can provide better-targeted and higher-quality opportunities to get brand messages across. So both brands and consumers can enjoy the car ride ... until they invent a TiVo for HD radio.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


It's always difficult to get good examples of what's happening in this space , so as part of a series of presentations that I've put together for VC's, artists, clients and agencies I've collected a number of case studies and examples. This film shows some of the more interesting examples that I've come across.
I'd be happy to talk in more detail to clients, agencies or artists about this area, so please feel free to contact me: or by phone on + 1 917 362 6874

Friday, November 30, 2007


This Blog was also posted on Ad Age Songs For Soap in November 2007

More Automotive Brands Are Taking In Car Entertainment To New Levels

This week has seen both Volvo and Ford Motor Company announcing significant new developments in their “dashboard installation” programs.

Volvo is now embracing next generation HD Technology ( It will let Volvo drivers take advantage of subscription-free high-definition broadcasting, which is currently available on more than 1,500 U.S. AM and FM radio stations, as well as some 700 free "HD2 multicast" channels available on the FM radio dial. 

In addition to the sound-quality improvement, Volvo says, "valuable information" on the HD radio screen will include traffic and weather updates, information about song titles and artists being played, and emergency alerts. This will give BMW some competition in the HD Radio space , where it has been fitting HD Radios as standard from 2004 on selected models and across the whole fleet from 2007

Meanwhile over in the satellite radio sector Ford is expanding its roll out of factory fitted Sirius satellite receivers ( ) across all Ford Models (Ford, Lincoln , Mercury, Land Rover , Jaguar, Volvo and Mazda). The company has already installed over 1 million receivers to date , which is still some way behind GM who puts its 1 millionth XM Satellite receiver into a car way back in 2004. Though with Sirius and XM set to merge the satellite dashboard battle will be eliminated.

This is great news for consumers who have an ever-increasing supply of high quality programming on channels that cover all musical tastes & genres from bluegrass to classical as well as numerous talk stations. It’s also is good news for brands; though advertising is limited on a number of satellite and HD channels , where it is allowed it provides better targeted and better sound quality opportunities to get the brand message across. So both brands and consumers can enjoy the car ride, unless they invent TIVO for radio!

Mike Tunnicliffe, former global advertising executive at Interpublic , is a music and entertainment entrepreneur and adviser on brand-integration development to a number of music-related businesses and clients. Tunnicliffe is also the business and personal manager of a select group of musical artists. Originally from Manchester, England, he spent most of his career in London and now resides in New York

Sunday, November 25, 2007


This week is the start of my new role as contributor to Ad Age's Songs For Soapwhich looks at the use of Music in TV Commercials and the integration of bands and brands.

My introductory blog is posted below and each week I'll update the blog on this site as well as add other postings of interest in the business of brand marketing and band marketing. Happy reading.

Mike Tunnicliffe Introduction: “Songs For Soap” #1

To paraphrase William Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy “all the world’s a stage and all the products and brands merely players”…… and brands are increasingly becoming players on the stage as they look for new ways to interact with consumers and create relevant engaging experiences through entertainment based marketing strategies that increasingly involve music . For example Starbucks, McDonalds, Pepsi and Coke to name but a few are brands that are operating well in this area and are in many instances taking this a stage further and turning into entertainment companies themselves. This year has for example seen Starbucks sign Paul McCartney, McDonalds and Levis set up record labels in Australia and Asia and Drinks America form a JV with Interscope records, home of dozens of top acts ranging from Pussycat Dolls to Sheryl Crowe.

At the same time artists no longer fear “selling out” by being associated with brands and appreciate that brands can give them something that record labels find increasingly difficult to give nowadays: exposure, money and added value for their fans, which in turn rubs off on to the brands themselves. All over the world we are seeing great examples of bands and brands coming together to benefit fans. As featured already on Songs For Soap this year has seen Prince link up with top British media brand, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
to give away a copy of his latest CD “Planet Earth” to the 2.5 million + purchasers of the paper, creating a massive uplift in sales for the paper , publicity for Prince) , in fact enough publicity to sell out 21 consecutive nights at top British Rock venue the O2 Centre ( O2 is another brand , a UK telecoms brand that’s also benefiting hugely from its association with Music). Meanwhile back home Prince uses the same imagery (using good old consistency in promoting the Prince “brand”) in his promotion with Verizon for V-cast where the first single from the album was made available exclusively to owners of the Verizon V-cast , promoting the new phone / service and importantly giving artists a new marketing feature whereby they will be able to link their song to a website or content in effect making a song become a URL.

At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota marquee brand Scion has for a few years now been building a very neat “anti glitz” grass roots music campaign where it has been bringing Indie artists to Scion consumers through its own internet based radio stations, exclusive tie ups with Indie labels and giveaway Scion Compilation CD’s that give the featured new acts much needed exposure. All of this done in a very altruistic almost non commercial way that’s really in keeping with Scion’s ultra cool and quirky brand image. A selection of the Scion tracks are featured on the Scion media player at the brands website

Having spent the last year totally immersed in my love of music and entertainment since leaving my previous 8 year stint at Interpublic travelling across the global stage working with various multinational FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies as key global executive for IPG’s Initiative Worldwide, I am going to be adding to Charles Moran’s blog “Songs For soap “ by giving an international perspective to this space and importantly looking beyond which songs appear in which ads to see how “bands and brands” are interacting to produce great pieces of communication that benefit both sides by proving great entertainment and added value for the fans of bands and consumers of brands. We will also be looking at new models, revenue streams and ways of working in both the brands and bands business.

If you have any interesting examples that you’d like to bring to our attention please e mail me at or Charlie Moran at

Mike Tunnicliffe, former global advertising executive at the Interpublic Group of Companies is a music and entertainment entrepreneur and advisor on brand integration development to a number of music related businesses and clients.

He is also the business and personal manager of a select group of musical artists whom he has been bringing to market through a combination of newer content-based strategies (Film and TV Soundtracks, TV Commercials, Viral/on-line, Movies, Games etc) and also advises an award winning, multi million selling UK songwriter and an Urban Entertainment Group from Queens New York.