Cast your mind back a mere three years ago and brand/music alignments were stuck in something of a rut with 'Battle of the Bands' campaigns saturating the market. This user-generated effort was seen as a cost effective way of building a music association by seemingly giving emerging artists a platform for their musical output.
However, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Submissions on the whole were not always of outstanding quality, and genuine creativity was easily side stepped in the rush to score a record contract or some other seemingly high profile prize. With only one winner the concept hardly depicted the brands involved as being behind a culture of emerging musical creativity.
A lot has changed since the BOTB gold rush days, and increasingly brands across all genres are looking to align with the music creativity that inspires people en masse in more genuine and altruistic ways.
Converse is one of the brands standing at the pinnacle of this new creative approach, whether its enabling artists from different backgrounds to collaborate on exclusive tracks, or pushing the creative boundaries of art and music with its on-site festival experiences. It still utilises BOTB style components where the market demands it – such as in India - but the focus still hinges on unearthing genuine creativity, rather than musical quick wins.
The latest installment in its long-running series of creative initiatives is ‘Converse Rubber Tracks’, which sees the footwear brand setting up a state-of-the-art free recording studio in Brooklyn for emerging acts to rehearse, record and work on post production of their music.
The criticism often leveled at BOTB contests was that winning acts received no after care in terms of sales promotion (a vital part of the music process). “You create the music. We will help get the word out”, states Converse, who will also capture exclusive live content, testimonials and featured tracks of the week via the new platform and push them via the brand's social media channels, thereby giving emerging acts a much needed voice as well as the tools to produce.
Interestingly Coca-Cola, under the guise of its Burn Energy Drink, is embarking on a similar proposal early next year.