NME, the long-running bastions of debauched Rock n' Roll excess, held their annual shindig last night at The Troxy in London, as they celebrated the bands and artists that the other awards shows (The BRIT Awards, GRAMMYS) tend to gloss over.
Those on the receiving end of an iconic middle-finger salute trophy included Palma Violets (soon to headline one of the Converse Gigs at the 100 club in London) as 'Best New Band', Alana Haim for 'Best Use of Twitter', and Festival No.6 as 'Best New Festival'. Amongst the emerging acts were a smattering of NME veterans, such as The Rolling Stones and Johnny Marr, adding to the rock royalty value of the evening and receiving 'Best Live Band' and 'Godlike Genius' gongs between them.
As ever the event had its fair share of brands eager to align with this melting pot of rock heritage and emerging talent. Spotify and SONOS, two of the big players in music (streaming and delivery), stepped up to sponsor awards ('Best New Band' and 'Best British Band') with alcohol and fashion also leveraging the awards to drive awareness amongst NME’s 1.1 million online audience of predominately 18-24 yr olds.
Rekoderlig, the Swedish cider brand – sponsoring the 'Best International Band' category – even went as far to create a bespoke cocktail to celebrate the partnership (the Wild Berry Bourbon), inviting its 13.6K Twitter fans to recreate the mix. The cider brand also made a good stab at keeping the awards banter going across its social media platform, as did Hoxton Gin, who sponsored 'Best Album'.
Elsewhere, men’s fashion brand Farah Vintage, building on its heritage in music, used the awards not just as a sponsorship platform ('Best Festival' award) but also as a broader showcase for its fashion line. The brand made its key apparel available to bands performing on the NME Awards Tour - which featured acts such as Django Django and Palma Violets - capitalising on the live performances as aspirational catwalk moments. Farah also offered up a social media led competition for 10 fans to attend the much sought after final gig of the tour and utilised Jamie Fullerton, Features Editor at NME, as a guest editor across its Facebook page, delivering an air of genuine credibility to its content marketing.
With the GRAMMYs, BRITs and NME Awards now wrapped up, and the festival session looming, the key here is in maintaining the momentum of a big ad or award sponsorship partnership into the rest 0f 2013 - crafting a credible, continuous association with music, as opposed to being a one night, one hit wonder.