Building smart music video brand partnerships

The music video landscape has been getting a financial leg up from brands for a number of years now, and the use of video as a platform for companies to showcase their products in front of  an artist’s lucrative fan base shows no sign of abating any time soon.

Recent reports have highlighted the ancillary revenue that these deals are providing for artists before a single download or physical sale has occurred.  Britney Spears allegedly netted $500,000 for plugging Sony electronics and dating website Plenty of Fish in the video for ‘Hold It Against Me’ (not to mention plenty of free on-screen time for her new perfume line). There is also some evidence to prove the associated benefits for brands, with Plenty Of Fish achieving a 20% uplift in traffic the day after the video premiered.

In-video product promos are continuing at quite a pace. Just this week we’ve seen JLS teaming up with Volvo to insert the automotive company’s vehicles into the boyband's new video, echoing a well-documented placement by Fiat in a Jlo video last month.

Now product placements are all well and good, but there is another way to engage with music video culture that we believe offers both deeper traction and a more credible fit with both artists and fans.

Having made a name for themselves with a string of clever viral videos, the LA–based band OkGo has worked in tandem with brands – from State Farm and Samsung, through to Yahoo and Range Rover - to develop innovative and engaging video content, often fusing cutting edge digital technology with fan interaction.

The group's latest video partnership took place at the close of last week, with the band joining forces with Cuervo Cold Tequila on a promotion that enabled fans to insert their Facebook and Twitter avatars into a new music video. The resulting production - which utilises an emerging technology called ShotCast - gave fans the ability to self-brand a pixel within the 8-bit styled video (similar in concept to the Million Dollar Homepage idea). A clever bit of UGC creative, powered by the Cuervo brand.

Olivia Solon, a friend of FRUKT over at Wired, recently interviewed lead vocalist Damian Kulash and he had this to say about building an effective brand/artist partnership: “The smart brands know that it matters more for them to be a part of the things that people love, rather than to just plaster logos and slogans everywhere”.

As brands continue to leverage the universal appeal of music, the focus has to now be on delivering credible, creative and honest collaborations with artists. Therein lies the difference between product placement and smart entertainment; one is focused on netting eyeballs, the other aims more directly for the heart - striking a deeper emotional connection, both with music and fans.

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