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.

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