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    SXSW Panel: Brands as the New Labels

    In one of the most relevant and interesting panels at this year’s SXSW conference, representatives from Coca-Cola, BlackBerry, pioneering creative agency Cornerstone, advertising agency McCann Erickson, and Songs Music Publishing discussed how and why brands have become the new record labels.

    Whether it be through massive global campaigns (e.g. Coca-Cola breaking the artist K’naan into +100 markets), interactive live events (e.g. BlackBerry’s concerts with Black Eyed Peas and U2, where the fans have been able to chat live through mobile devices to the artists on stage), TV advertisements that have broken numerous young bands (Songs Music Publishing), or the initiative to start long-term (e.g. Cornerstone’s Green Label Sound sponsored by Mountain Dew) or short-term record labels (e.g. McCann Erickson’s spin-off label from a campaign with Holiday Inn), the music industry, its artists and its fans, has developed in a way during the recent years so that brands can step in to help break and launch artists in a number of ways.

    This is no secret for most people working in music or marketing, but with more and more brands trying to get involved in the music scene, and more artist looking to launch major deals with brands, the speakers listed a few important points in order to make a collaboration successful.

    Key points:

    • Fans have become used to, respect and even appreciate the collaboration between brands and artists, and expect brands to deliver them music and music discovery
    • Brands can function similarly to a record label in many ways, by breaking artists into campaigns, commercials or more complex platforms and projects
    • The content created through brand related events have a longer tail and can live forever online, often leading to high traffic numbers even far past the event is over (e.g. for Coca-Cola on YouTube, traffic related to the music of their World Cup Campaigns surpassed the traffic of videos of the advertisements themselves, 80 mill. vs. 8 mill.)

    Building up to the World Cup in 2010, Coca-Cola took K’naan to 83 gigs around the world, to countries like Mexico, Thailand, China, among others where it’s very difficult to introduce a new artist into new audiences. In the end, he topped the charts in more than 18 countries…

    …However, I don’t think that brands are the savers of the music industry, they aren’t silver bullets. But, they offer a very effective way to enhance the marketing needs you have for your artist. The industry understood that 15 years ago, how efficient it was just to add a song to a commercial. The winds are changing on both sides and people understand the need to collaborate. The fact that 75% of people try to avoid commercials and 80% of people engage in music daily is a sign of that match.“, said Umut Ozaydinli, global music marketing manager of the Coca-Cola Company, during the panel discussion.

    To listen to the whole panel, visit SXSW’s live recording here.

    By: Eric Welles Nyström, member of the Heartbeats Movement and our guy at this year’s SXSW


    Coca-Cola Happiness Trucks delivering doses of happiness

    Check out the latest initiative in Coca-Cola’s Open Happiness campaign. Below are two clips of Coca-Cola trucks converted into happiness machines on wheels, dispensing balls, surfboards, frisbees - and, of course, refreshing Coke - on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and in the streets of Marikina in the Philippines.

    Where will happiness strike next?


    World’s Most Innovative Music Companies

    FastCompany has listed the “World’s Most Innovative Companies“, not surprisingly Apple appears at the top, followed by Twitter and Facebook. Listed as well is Top Ten by Industry, including the following:  Advertising, Biotech, Design, Fashion, Mobile, and, last but not least, Music.


    FastCompany’s editorial team have evaluated thousands of global businesses to create the complete ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ list, with a goal to highlight companies that “dare to be different, emphasizing not just revenue growth and profit margins but also progressive business models and an ethos of creativity.” The music category is broadly defined to include major brands who use music creatively, alongside artists and traditional music companies. No record labels made it to the chart, but the inclusion of Hello Music and Songbird in Top Ten Music is an affirmation of their contribution to the latest iteration of the evolving music industry. The winner of the whole category is Pandora, for “bringing its custom-curated music mix to a new venue: cars”. Two brands that stand out are the first runner-up, Coca-Cola, and Converse, who made it to seventh place. Converse for “building a recording studio that’s also a goodwill-generating machine” (Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn), and Coke for its “daring marketing model that redefines the relationship among consumer brands, record companies, and artists”. Neither of these brands are considered as traditional parts of the music industry. Below is the Top Ten in Music list.

    01 Pandora
    For bringing its custom-curated music mix to a new venue: cars

    02 Coca-Cola
    For a daring marketing model that redefines the relationship among consumer brands, record companies, and artists

    03 Big Champagne
    For developing a more modern business measurement that factors in social media

    04 Arcade Fire
    For turning the music video into an individualised user experience

    05 Terra.com
    For a multipronged, and profitable, music-focused content model

    06 Hello Music
    For helping aspiring artists concentrate on their art without losing out on the business side

    07 Converse
    For building a recording studio that’s also a goodwill-generating machine

    08 Sonos
    For making one of the easiest-to-use, best-sounding, affordable wireless audio systems

    09 Songbird
    For creating an open-source music-management platform that’s way more personal than iTunes

    10 Weezer
    For customising its own business through unusual record and marketing deals


    Brands playing with original music to engage customers

    More and more brand marketers are playing with original music to engage their customers. Our last example was Coca-Cola and how the beverage company successfully used music (K’Naan’s Wavin’ Flag) during the World Cup.

    This summer we’ve also noticed Levi’s Pioneer Sessions, Nike’s remake of Umbabarauma, aka 1976’s Ponta de Lança Africano (Umbabarauma) by Jorge Ben, and Converse’s original All Summer tune, to mentions a few interesting cases.


    How Coca-cola won the world-cup (through music)


    #4 EXCLUSIVITY (4Es of music branding)

    When in Tokyo I recommend a visit to a ‘Pachinko hall’. It’s a type of game hall with vending machines and a games called ‘Pachinko’. The sound wave when entering is shocking - your senses are literally bombarded by flashing lights, spinning wheels and hysteric techno music. What fascinates me is that the people don’t pay any attention to all the noise and flashing lights anymore but just sit quietly playing their game. They have become numb and have learnt how to screen out all the messages and focus on their interest.

    The Pachinko halls work as a metaphor for today’s market place. More and more brands compete for our attention but we pay less attention to them. Statistics show that more than 20 000 new brands are launched every year but only a few survive the two first years. Research tells us that we are confronted with more than 2500 advertising messages on a daily basis, but only remember around 8% of them. An ANC Nielsen study shows that we only remember in an average of two of the advertisements we’ve seen in a day.

    In a reality that increasingly resembles Tokyo, the need to differentiate your brand and take a unique and exclusive position in the mind of your audience is more important then ever. Sound and music here play a great role especially as a tool to create consistency in how the brand sounds on the different platforms of contact with the customer. A sonic identity can be created (an audio version of the graphic identity) that defines how the brand sounds and this is then activated as a sound logotype, in-store music program, presentations and hold music. In this way you can hold the customers’ attention also when they are not looking your way and create a more unique brand experience and exclusivity.

    There is of course a reason why Coca-cola has worked with sonic branding for more than 20 years, and everyone recognises McDonalds ‘Da da da da dah, I’m loving it‘. Research from Dr Adrian North of Leicester University shows that it’s working; brands with music in their brand identity are 96% more likely to be recalled then those without (or non-fitting music).


    A word from the global music marketing manager

    “Music is a marketing tool that can help you achieve your objectives”, says Umut Ozaydinli, global music marketing manager at Coca-Cola.

    Watch this interesting video from MediaTV/Brand Republic where he talks about the new ‘Open happiness’ campaign. Mr Ozaydinli talks about the possibilities of working with music on a global basis and the new platforms that emerge through music branding.

    Umut Ozaydinli


    The secret recipe of Coke

    Coca Cola is one of the world’s most successful brands and a company that always understood the true power of music. The “I like to buy the world a Coke” campaign that was launched in the early 1970s and the specific song that was written for it also became a top seller shortly afterwards the rollout of the campaign.

    It’s also fascinating to see how well Coke read the mind of the public and their customers around this time. It was in the days of the Vietnam war and political activism stood high up on the agenda of people. The video clearly emphasize on a very socialistic feeling with a universal message of love. People should come together everywhere and of course the elixir for this movement is Coke…

    Now almost 40 years later they again put music in the centre of their marketing mix. In the “Open Happiness” campaign they put together the artists/bands WhatFallout Boy, Gym Class Heroes, Panic At The Disco, Cee Lo and Janelle Monae, for a collaborative effort on the song, “Open Happiness”.

    “From our perspective, it was a logical choice to inspire people through music,” says Coca-Cola global music marketing manager Umut Ozaydinli.

    Clearly Coke understood that the secret recipe in order to be successful in building an emotional connection to people everywhere is music.

    Read more about the partnership here