Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Making Your Brand Sing!

Once a year for three years now, I give a talk on Music Marketing to professionals enrolled at the Post Graduate Diploma Program in Marketing Communications Management. This program, offered by the De La Salle Graduate School of Business is mounted in partnership with the Philippine Association of National Advertisers Foundation, and is orchestrated by friend, colleague and client, Asia Brewery's Jun Alcantara.

Throughout my research, I have come across many case studies on how advertisers and their ad agencies have managed to get their brands to sing. At the turn of the century, for instance, many companies would sponsor sporting activities, barn dances and college proms. Soon, they would reflect popular musical events in their print ads. In 1931 for example, an ad for Chesterfields (shown here) featured sister and brother Adele and Fred Astaire mimicking their roles in the hit review then, The Bandwagon.

But more than through print ads, jingles have been most effective in allowing brands to penetrate pop culture (especially if pop singing stars are involved), offering various contact points with consumers everywhere. So yes, brands can indeed sing-- and in surround sound. Some examples:

ROCK STAR BOOSTS CAREER BY OFFERING HIS SONG TO A CAR BRAND
Sting's 2000 release of his album BRAND NEW DAY failed to jump-start a career that was stuck since 1995. The artist was hoping that his single, DESERT ROSE would do the trick, but radio stations were not too sure about the Arabic intro that the song carried, and airplay was little. For the video of the song, Sting had already featured the Jaguar S-Type, and so he and his managers entertained the idea of approaching the luxury car brand to cut a commercial. Jaguar went to bed with the rock star, feeling certain that such a campaign would bring their brand closer to a broader market. And they were right. When the ad aired in the U.S., both the car and the song (and the artist) received substantial consumer interest. Check this out:
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SPORTSWEAR BRAND TAPS RISING POP STAR AND HIS "NEW SHOES"
More recently, Puma and Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini forged a partnership through Warner Music International to help push the brand's sport shoes internationally. After winning a pop trivia quiz during a concert in 2003 and being made to sing impromptu on stage, the amateur 17-year old was then signed to a record label and released his fist CD in 2006--in it, the hit single, New Shoes. In the Puma campaign, Nutini appears in advertising around the globe, performing New Shoes across television, radio, mobile and online efforts. He is also touring stores everywhere, having been to Tokyo recently and in Jamaica with athletes bound then for the Olympics.  Here's the TV ad:

video

POP DUO CATCHES TV JINGLE AND RECORDS A FULL-LENGTH VERSION
And so the story goes. Richard Carpenter was watching TV one day and caught the commercial of some bank in the U.S. Moved by the music and recognizing the singer's voice to be Paul Williams's, he and sister Karen researched on the tune with the hope of getting to record a longer version of the ballad. Paul Williams acknowledged that there was indeed a full length song that became the basis for the TV ad soundtrack. So the Carpenters hit the studio. Now here's the vintage commercial and its jingle. Now you know why the song has become a favorite in weddings.

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Gee, there are just so many case studies to discuss. More here in the future. Are there any jingles that have become your favorite? Feel free to share...

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