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