A Personal Touch: Using sponsorship to engage consumers locally

The increase in the number of communication channels between consumer and brand has brought with it a greater amount of choice for the public when purchasing products and services. In order to cater towards this, brands have looked to put the consumer first, engaging them on a personal level to retain their loyalty. Here are four key criteria that brands have built into their sponsorship strategy to develop customer loyalty, and where it has been done effectively.

Limited Edition Offers: O2 have set the standard for this over the past five years with their Priority Moments, which was initiated to increase customer retention and reduce churn. They’ve achieved this thorough giving customers a more personalised bespoke service, offering VIP tickets and first refusal on anything from music to rugby tickets. Having recently teamed up with Nike, they now offer a comprehensive range of perks to reward the loyalty of their customers.

Tapping into Passions: Tapping into people’s passions can propel brands into the hearts and minds of the consumer. However associating with specific fans is a risky business, because you can easily alienate groups by associating with their rivals. McDonald’s avoided this with their sponsorship of Euro 2012; this was geared around harnessing people’s passions for their individual team, where they then competed against one another through an online app. By staying completely bipartisan but engaging with each fan made this app the most downloaded throughout the tournament, building a strong rapport amongst followers of Euro 2012.

Regionalising the Model: The football club Manchester United have developed an unprecedented regional sponsorship campaign whereby they have developed regional partners in order to promote their brand overseas. Associating with more local companies has allowed them to engage with fans on a local level, creating greater recognition.

Second-Screen Engagement: Having consumers directly interact with brands content can provide lasting exposure which could either cost millions to build, or years to develop. Coca-Cola created the Coca-Cola Polar Bowl which provided a second screen experience game during the Super Bowl, where fans from either side would tune in to watch two bears live reactions in relation to what was happening on the pitch. This generated nine million views with an annual watch time of 28 minutes, systematically giving Coke unparalleled  exposure, and kudos amongst fans.

With brands such as Vodafone who announced this week a shift in their sponsorship strategy from a corporate badging exercise to a locally engaged model, it shows consumers are driving the need to be listened to and engaged with. Keeping brands on their toes and opening the door to more versatile partnerships.

Connecting with the Youth- Successful Sponsorship Strategies to Young People

Digital media proliferation has led to social media platforms becoming paramount to successful sponsorship strategies directed at the youth. Younger consumers also tend to be far more receptive to campaigns based around their passions, of which sport and music are the most universal.

Deloitte and Further Education

Sponsorship campaigns in Universities are becoming increasingly common, with the most well-known examples coming through sport. Deloitte’s collaboration with the British Universities and Colleges Sport body (BUCS) is particularly successful. The 5-year partnership deal focuses on a ‘Leadership Academy’ model which delivers events to BUCS members to experience and develop leadership and communication skills.

Through the partnership, Deloitte has first-hand access to thousands of graduates which enables them to maintain their position as one of the top graduate employers (#2 in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2013). It also gives Deloitte an opportunity to build a rapport with students, making them a leading choice for career-searching graduates.

Spotify and Bacardi on Tour

Consumers tend to be more receptive to campaigns that draw upon personal interests. ‘Spotify on Tour’ tapped into this by teaming up with Bacardi to bring music based experiences to fans across America. They created intimate gigs and festivals with renowned artists such as Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lemar with an emphasis on musical discovery for real music lovers.

The project was supported by a dedicated ‘Spotify on Tour’ which enabled sharing of tour dates, exclusive images and video content. The campaign resonated with the younger generation, which in turn helped Spotify increase its Facebook ‘likes’ to over 2.7 million.

Coca-Cola – Fusion of Music and Sport

Sporting events also represent golden opportunities to engage with young people. Coca-Cola directed its sponsorship of London 2012 towards the youth with the innovative ‘Move to the Beat’ campaign. ‘Move to the Beat’ celebrated British talent by combining the critically acclaimed architects Pernilla & Asif and award winning DJ Mark Ronson. It was based over four different platforms: the Coca-Cola song, documentary, Facebook app and the Coca-Cola Olympic Games pavilion, and had the overall objective of bringing ‘teens closer to the Olympic Games by fusing sport with their passion for music’. The campaign generated a vast amount of online activity including 245 million search impressions, an additional 1.5 million Facebook likes and 21,000 Twitter followers. In addition, Coke became the 2nd most talked about brand during the London Olympics.

Much of the success of these campaigns can be attributed to the use of highly  relevant content for young people and the right platform for the market. Given the significant changes to the way young people are now marketed to it will be fascinating to see how the sponsorship landscape continues to evolve and how brands adapt to this fertile marketing demographic.

Is Following your Passion Leading us Astray?

I recently had the pleasure of guest lecturing for the amazing students at the University of Northampton.  I have been fortunate enough to have spoken at a number of Universities this year including Cambridge and Westminster and always find it invigorating – mostly because it was not too long ago that I was on the other side of the lectern.  However, this recent presentation included an opportunity to sit down with the students afterwards where I was able to ask them questions about their views on sponsorship.  When asked what their plans were after graduation, one student’s reply particularly peaked my interest – she wanted to work in football.  When I dug a bit further, I found she was so passionate about football that she would be happy with any role just as long as it was working in football.  Digging further still I queried whether she would take a similar role at a cricket club?  Her reply was unsurprisingly ‘no’.

Passion is what makes our industry different.  Our ability to tap into consumers’ passions – whether it is for sport, music, art, or even their own industry awards, enables us to derive value based on a connection to the audience.  It is what separates our marketing strategy from above-the-line campaigns.  It is what makes our industry unique.

However, I would argue that our biggest strength can also be our biggest weakness.  Far too often I meet Commercial Directors at sport clubs whose last role was on the pitch; Artist Liaisons and Media Managers for festivals that previously were lead singers of failed bands.  To make matters worse, there have been multiple occasions where we have lost pitches to other sponsorship agencies because we were ‘not passionate enough’ about sport or music – and in one bizarre case, yoga.  It seems that the criteria for being employed in sponsorship can sometimes be judged based on passion for the activity rather than the skill set required to do the job.

We have therefore hit the core part of the problem: the skill set is ill-defined and vague at best.  Sponsorship encompasses so many different types of roles in so many different industries that it is almost impossible to define who would excel or even who would enjoy the type of work.    In our agency alone, not one person entered the industry with the intent to become a sponsorship professional (I wanted to be a mathematician).  And even with the clients that we are working with, some of our most creative and successful work comes from industries/organisations I didn’t even know existed until a couple years ago; and therefore had never had the chance to become passionate about.

Though our industry is built out of passion; passions, unfortunately, do not create the pathway to success in sponsorship.  More needs to be done within the industry to define and communicate the attributes and skill sets of a successful career.  In addition, the industry needs to work closer with educators and course leaders to highlight opportunities that may be overlooked, in order to help realistically hone graduate passions into a career that they love.  This not to say however, that a passion for football won’t lead to success within football sponsorship – far from it.  Many incredibly successful sponsorship professionals have a strong passion for the industry they work in (whether it be sport, art, or music).   But it is experience in doing sponsorship – regardless of industry – that will prevail.  As Gladwell states in Outliers: The Story of Success ‘You need 10,000 hours of experience to become an expert’.

You better get started.

Thinking of warmer climates: Why UK brands are investing in festivals abroad

The fact that the heating is permanently on in our office, my (much maligned) Parka jacket has come out from the back of the wardrobe and I’m already bored of the hype around Christmas can mean only one thing: it’s November.  In order to stave off the cloying, high-pitched tones of Santa’s elves and remind us of warmer times, our friends at Outlook have released their 2013 Festival highlights – a 9 minute long adventure through the myriad of music and magic that is Fort Punta Christo, Croatia, for four days at the end of August each year.

The video itself takes me back to an incredible two weeks working at Outlook and Dimensions Festivals this summer, but it’s a scene at 4:22 that reminded me just how successful the sponsorship around both festivals was for 2013. The scene (below) is UK-based DJ EZ performing a headline set wearing the official festival jacket, which was created by the festival’s fashion partner, Majestic Athletic. Over 500 of these jackets were created to announce the partnership, with an initial 100 being used for promotional purposes (gifting, Facebook competitions and artist fashion shoots) with the remaining 400 selling out within the first 48 hours of going on sale at the festival itself.

Majestic’s sponsorship of Outlook was a major success for the brand, as were the campaigns by the other partners we brought in for 2013. Although all four key partners were successful, investing big chunks of UK marketing budget in festivals 1,000 miles away was a leap of faith for all parties: a ‘shot in the dark that paid off’ were the words of another sponsor who I recently had a sign-on meeting for 2014 with. So, why were the sponsorships so successful and why are UK brands increasingly looking to partner with foreign-based (in particular Croatian) festivals instead of the closer and well-trodden events in the UK.

The experience

I think anyone who’s spent a week partying in an abandoned Austro Hungarian fort that overlooks the Adriatic Sea, sunbathing on a beach all day while eating fresh calamari for 50% of what a burger costs in the UK would find it hard to argue that festivals along the coastline of Croatia have one-up on your standard ‘music-in-a-field’ UK festival. The exotic location and the novelty of the experience make stronger, lasting ‘holiday-like’ memories that invariably influence brand-attitudes and ultimately purchasing decisions amongst festival goers when they return back home.

The audience: adventurous and committed

Whether it’s booking flights, changing currency or remembering your passport, getting to Croatia takes more effort than going to Reading. There’s also the reality that your mum can’t pick you up if you drink one too many tequilas and lose your wallet containing all of the above. In short, this means that the 30,000 hardy souls that descend on Pula for Outlook and Dimensions each year, not only rely less on their parents, but are also likely to be more adventurous and instigators of brand trends, rather than followers. For a drinks or clothing brand these are the exact people they want to target as they are the people that will promote their brand when they return home.

In addition, the effort involved to get to Croatia illustrates the commitment the audiences have to the festival they’re flying to go to. From research we’ve done into customers of Outlook, over 65% of them have been to the festival on more than one occasion, meaning an increased level of loyalty and therefore more receptive to the brands that the festival has chosen to further compliment their experience at the festival.

Social – reduced burden on experiential

The ascension of social has given festivals (and therefore its sponsors) a year-round platform to speak with this committed following on a daily basis, rather than through sporadic and often un-targeted communications. This has allowed for sponsors to leverage their benefits for prolonged periods of time and puts less pressure on them spending vast amounts on on-site activation. One of the key reasons for UK brands failing to invest in Outlook and Dimensions has been this lack of understanding of the social benefits available and the worry that their on-site activations will be even more expensive and more difficult to carry out than if they worked with a UK-based event.

The Sun – Because no one likes the rain. Apart from ducks.


Smart Tennis Sponsorship Activations

After winning the Barclays World Tour Finals for the second time in 2 years at the O2 Arena last week in London, World Number 2, Novak Djokovic, once again thanked the sponsors for their generosity. At this event alone, Djokovic took home $1.9 million, which increased his career prize money to a staggering $58 million.

Taking into consideration the need for significant prize funds to attract the world’s best players and operating a global calendar of events, large sponsors are vital to the framework.  With an increase in the amount of money required to sponsor, it is becoming ever more apparent for brands to differentiate in order to generate significant ROI at these events through activation.

Here are some of our favourites:

1.  Barclays Ball Kids, Barclays World Tour Finals 2010-2013

Ball kids are a permanent fixture of any major tournament tennis court. The kids themselves are often branded with large commercial logos, essentially resembling a moving advertising board.  Consequently, the ball kids are clearly projected to the live audience and across television networks.

Barclays developed this common concept to go one step further to promote its title sponsorship. A campaign around the ball kids was initiated in 2010 to create a story of how each ball kid is selected. The ‘Barclays Ball Kids’ campaign has selected children from 45 regionalised events held around the UK, attracting 6,500 applicants. Their progress is followed by regionalised media and social media until the final 30 reach London for the event. ‘Barclays Ball Kids’ has become a strong identity and is further underpinned at the event with the kids participating in activities with celebrity ambassadors, creating additional coverage by host broadcasters and national media.

Barclays Ball Kids resulted in an awareness of 77% from attendees and generated £1.5 million in media value.

2.  LV Insurance – Hawkeye Challenge Counter, Statoil Tennis Masters 2012

As a supporting partner, LV Insurance secured the right to brand the live scoreboard.  Rather than the typical logo placement, LV went one step further and found a unique way to add value to the audiences’ (and players’) experience during the Statoil Tennis Masters.  Utilising the Hawkeye system, a computer generated review of potentially bad calls made by umpires, LV harnessed the excitement of the audience every time Hawkeye was used by making a donation of £100 to the charity Centerpoint which supports homeless children.

Charitable donations through challenges excited and involved fans like never before – the more challenges they encouraged players to request, the more money they helped the charity raise. Such was the engagement that John McEnroe himself felt free to exhaust his allocation of challenges to generate more money for the charity and play into the audience encouragement.

By tapping into audience engagement, LV Insurance were able to utilise what is typically a small benefit to turn it into something that shaped the way the event, players and audience experienced the matches.

3. Corona Lounges, multiple events, 5 year agreement from 2010

Alcohol brands are well established at sporting events and have a natural association to provide beer beverages to thirsty spectators. However, spectators are accustomed to not having a choice of beer beverages at events, so the choice requires less brand association – they just want ‘a beer’. As such, it is vital to make a difference through activation.

Corona understood this and throughout their tenure as Premier Partner to the ATP Tour focused on creating the ultimate Corona Experience.  Locally themed Corona lounges at point-of-sale were set up on site open to all in order to facilitate a sanctuary – driving through the brand values of the beer itself.

A Week At Slingshot

We get up to a lot at the Slingshot offices, so we thought we’d give a bit of insight into our daily goings on.  Our very own Jamie Dey willingly offered his services. Having joined the team four months ago, Jamie has a fresh take on Slingshot’s agency life; so here’s a week with Jamie.

Monday

Having spent the weekend in Cornwall which was subsequently followed by the mandatory slog along the A303 late into the night, Monday started with a coffee firmly by my side.  It doesn’t take long, however, until I’m off and going with a diary update to see what lies ahead.

With the cobwebs swiftly shaken, the first task is a catch up with the Slingshot team, which gives everyone the chance to catch up with one another’s business – more often than not this turns into an open forum with everyone contributing on strategy and areas in which campaigns can be improved upon (very ambitious for a Monday morning, indeed!).

The rest of day is filled with analyzing new business requests, and looking at what future projects we can get involved in. Each proposal is sent around the team, we offer advice on every inquiry no matter how big or small, it’s important to feedback on every request as you never know what it can lead to.

Tuesday

The day starts briskly by jumping straight into talking with brands that are looking to sponsor the What Car awards? The awards themselves have been a real success over the past two years, and the platform has developed considerably, making it a great account to work on.

Brainstorming possible activations for brands gets the blood pumping and definitely an area of the job I enjoy, this takes up the day and with progress made, the week is looking good.  It’s great to see new clients coming on board and the process which is involved from inception – the run up to Christmas looks busy!

Wednesday

Wednesday is dedicated to on-site duties for Silverpop at the Festival of Marketing, this is a chance to get out of the office and see how our work is doing in practice.

Our work with Silverpop as a B2B brand keeps me on my toes as it goes away from our usual consumer focussed platforms. This broad range of experience has really helped me look at each account with an open mind; this is one of Slingshots strong points and has made the agency dynamic in its approach within the industry.

Thursday

Hump day is gone and it’s the back part of the week – that said, the day is spent sitting in on one of Slingshot’s key services, the sponsorship Bootcamp.  The Bootcamp is a one or two day service which aims to provide organisations with an insight into the sponsorship industry with a focus upon developing sponsorship proposals and approaching and securing sponsorship.

Today’s Bootcamp is tailored around an international TV show, which I worked directly on alongside our MD Jackie Fast.  Presented by Jackie, the Bootcamp seeks to give insight but most importantly to spark inspiration and discussion, which it looks as though we’ve done!  The month’s work prior to today has been demanding, but it’s great to see my strategy warmly received and to know that there is a high chance of it being implemented.

Friday

The morning is spent going through sales and prospecting for Digital Unite and their Spring Online event next year. This has proved a real success over the past 18 months and a fantastic example of a well engaged campaign that is making a significant difference across the nation.

The Friday ritual starts early with Tina Turner howling from the office speakers, giving us all the motivation to finish off our weekly progress reports in time to make a dash to the pub.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make an Impact through Social Media: Slingshot Sponsorship Partner with That Lot

Slingshot Sponsorship is delighted to announce a partnership with That Lot Creatives to provide a Bootcamp service on how to make an impact through social media.  The Bootcamp aims to provide organisations with an insight into the sponsorship industry with a focus upon developing sponsorship proposals and approaching and securing sponsorship.  Over the past three years, Slingshot Sponsorship has developed the Bootcampto become a highly tailored service suited to all organisations.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director, Slingshot Sponsorship stated: “We have successfully delivered tailored Bootcamps for over 50 organisations.  The success of the Bootcamp has been through Slingshot’s insight into the development of the sponsorship industry and it felt like a natural progression to advance the offering into the digital sphere.  Social Media has become an ever increasingly important tool and we are thrilled to be working with That Lot to develop an astute Bootcamp for future clients.”

That Lot is a new social media agency, headed by writer, comedian and Twitter obsessive David Schneider (150,000 followers and counting) and the UK’s foremost professional tweeter, David Levin (@BBCApprentice and @BBCTheVoiceUK).

David Schneider commented: “David Levin and I have worked closely with Slingshot to create informative, enjoyable workshops that give individuals and companies the tools to really cut through online platforms. We want to make sure that people leave our course inspired and able to tweet and post with impact and humour.”

The courses form part of the Bootcamp offering from Slingshot and can either be added to the current Sponsorship Bootcamp or provided on a standalone basis.

David added: “I’m a bit of a Twitter evangelist, keen to spread the word about how to do Twitter better. Working with Slingshot is a great fit for us. I’m not saying that, together with them, we’ll turn every company or individual Twitter feed into @OscarWilde, but we’re confident we can help people grow their influence online enormously.”

Opportunities for the Social Media Bootcamp are currently available.

High Culture; a Thriving Market

Sponsorship of the arts and ‘high culture’ is a topic that has been vehemently discussed within the industry for years.  Indeed, the industry is one that has been criticised for its choice of partners; see BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery and Shell’s long standing partnership with the Southbank Centre.  Yet, controversy aside, high culture such as the opera, ballet and classical music has a deep rooted association with large corporates.

It seems, however, that the industry is changing.  Over the past few years there has been an influx of new musicians that have begun to open younger generation’s eyes to high culture arts.  Take for example, musicians such as Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm, both of whom are classically trained, yet they appear time and time again on some of the UK’s most favoured music blogs.  Furthermore, in 2011 BBC Radio 1’s DJ Greg James played Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni as part of the ‘study break’ feature. The reaction was hugely unexpected with the classical piece reaching number 28 in the Top 40 Chart.

There are also a number of more intimate events and concerts popping up across the country. Ruthless Jabiru is a successful classical orchestra composed and directed by Kelly Lovelady and is entirely made up of Australian musicians living in Britain. Ruthless Jabiru runs a combination of intimate and large events across the country, playing in venues such as Australia House, London and LSO St. Luke’s, and has been recognised for its ambassadorial work by Buckingham Palace.

In the ever more saturated festival market, some brands are beginning to look elsewhere for inspiration.  Events such as those hosted by Ruthless Jabiru (see their up and coming event at Union Chapel Monday 14th October) are creating unique experiences for brands to interact with younger audiences.

Kelly Lovelady said, “Classical events like those of my own orchestra, Ruthless Jabiru, are a fantastic platform for brands to interact with consumers on a more intimate level. The passions associated with classical music in the distinctive and beautiful venues in which we perform can really create a unique experience for both brand and attendee.”

This shift in attitude is being helped by a development being seen in the events themselves, with classical artists adopting modern pieces and trading in traditional instruments for electric ones.  In light of this shift within the market, Slingshot has compiled two examples of consumer brands partnering with high culture events.

Peugeot and Bond

As always there are of course brands ahead of the curve. The Peugeot and Bond (Bond, not James Bond) partnership is one of the first examples of a big name brand sponsoring classical music band. This was designed to differentiate themselves from other brands and connect with a young, mass market. As part of the sponsorship Bond, a female electric instrument quartet, created a mini album specifically for the Peugeot 308 CC adverts, this was then given away as a free download on the Peugeot website.

Siemens and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

A different partnership to that of Peugeot and Bond, Siemens sponsorship of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields is a prime example of a partnership based on the wide and international audience of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields as well as classical music in general. The orchestra allowed Siemens to access the typical ABC1 demographic of higher culture arts whilst also providing access to a younger audience through young musicians like Joshua Bell who are part of the St Martin in the Fields Orchestra.

“Enter At Your Own Peril” : Sponsor Association With Controversial Brand Ambassadors

 

“The role of a brand ambassador – the brand ambassador is a marketing model that employs trusted, credible personalities to promote and give greater visibility to its brand products

It seems, historically, that sport and scandal have gone hand-in-hand. Over the past five years there have been multiple athletes in the upper echelons of their respected fields that have been subject to a public fall from grace. For the sponsor, the usual protocol will be to run for the hills, and withdraw any association with the respected star. However, there are some exceptions, and brands do, in some cases, stick by or re-invest in their asset – but under what circumstance and why?

Level Of Association

If the player is either an integral part of the sponsors make up, or headline star, then it makes the job of getting rid of them, and keeping to your marketing strategy a lot harder. Woods, of course, has been embezzled with the swoosh his entire career, this can also be said of Wayne Rooney. However Ryan Giggs has not been so fortunate, despite being held up as headline moral ambassador for his maturity, the star ended up being shunned by a number of his sponsors for a comparable offense to that of Rooney or Woods.

Bankability

The commercial revenue generated by any ambassador is integral to their credentials, and can play a significant role in the decision making process. In Woods and Rooney’s case, both EA games and Nike had complete product ranges centered on them, and commercially had too much to lose.

Sponsor’s market place

Accenture was Woods’s big loss in the aftermath of the scandal around his affair. The firm could not justify sporting a star whilst marketing themselves as a trusted Business Consultancy. Brands have ambassadors for a multitude of reasons, but they must be able to link their common values and business goals. In contrast, Alex Rodriguez, was still used by Guitar Hero in their adverts even after he admitted to taking banned substances. The business case for this was that Guitar Hero’s product was not affiliated with his sporting attributes, but his public personality.

The Offense

The line with which most brands have consistently taken when suspending contracts, has been when the ambassador’s actions directly affect the relationship they have with the respected brand’s promotional attributes. In the case of Drugs there has been a 100% termination rate in sport. However, in the case of Kate Moss and the fashion industry, the offence was taken very differently. Although she did lose substantial contracts, Moss managed to retain seven, and go on to re-build her career, something which has never been seen on such a scale in sport.

There is no doubt that trust in ambassadors has publically waned, as such, there has been a shift in how brands market their ambassadors. Recent campaigns by brands such as Nike illustrate that the focus is now upon empowering the consumer, rather than showboating the skills of an untouchable star. Even in fashion, couture designers are collaborating with high street fashion chains to bring their products to a consumer level. This shift undoubtedly showcases ambassadors but does much to bring the star or garment to the consumers level, retaining brand loyalty, which is essential in a very fickle market place.

It’s the end product that matters

As the quote above states, ambassadors uphold the values of the product they promote, and being the lucrative tool which they are, brands will do anything to protect them. However no one is bigger than the brand and on a case-by-case basis, the outcome of each offense is dictated by the relationship between the star and the value of the product they endorse.

The Age of the Guerilla Marketing Campaign is Upon Us

A Slingshot favourite, Arcade Fire (yes, they are of Canadian origin – and yes, we are reminded of this each time they grace the office speakers – our MD’s Canadian) recently embarked upon a marketing campaign of epic proportions to promote their fourth studio album, Reflektor.  For the past month or so, music blogs alike have been roused by the appearance of guerilla graffiti across the streets of the United States.  For months, bloggers questioned the ownership of these cryptic symbols; fans were handed out at both Lollapalooza and FYF Festival emblazoned with the symbols and sightings began to spring up across Europe and through various social media channels.  All of this, for an album release.

Gone are the days, it seems, of albums being released through traditional marketing campaigns – billboards being hung weeks prior to the release date and artists trudging around one radio station after another.  Of course, these channels are still very much a part of the routine, but it seems that the advance of digital and social technology has disrupted the traditional model – opening a plethora of opportunity for those musicians with a unique vision, or ones (ahem, Katy Perry) that wish to wow with extravagance.

In light of the influx of guerilla and viral marketing campaigns, I have decided to put together my top 3.

The xx – Coexist

In poll position – For the release of their follow up to the critically acclaimed ‘xx,’ The xx embarked upon a marketing campaign that embodied so perfectly the power of word of mouth in the digital age.  On 3rd September 2012, The xx gave one fan the location of a website which hosted a preview of the album Coexist.  The Coexist streaming site featured a map tracking shares as they occurred with a beautiful visualisation, inspired by Aaron Koblin’s flight patterns.  Just twenty-four hours after the stream was shared with a single fan on Facebook, the site crashed from the millions of streams, with the average user spending 2.1 hours on the site and what is more, you were able to see all of this unfold from your computer screen.

Nine Inch Nails – The Year Zero

Fans of Nine Inch Nails had been eagerly awaiting the release of the band’s new album; after examining one of their tour t-shirts fans realised thathighlighted letters from the shirt spelled out the phrase ‘I am trying to believe.’  As it turned out, this was a website filled with cryptic messaging.  As fans began to delve deeper into the digital sphere, more and more clues began to emerge, phone numbers were uncovered within tracks and when called, fictional characters answered; flash drives containing the complete album were left in public toilets and Google Maps was utilised to award fans with free tickets and NIN memorabilia.  NIN’s marketing campaign brought back the excitement of discovering music, making it all the sweeter.

Radiohead – In Rainbows

Not necessarily as show-stopping as the two previous examples, but the release of Radiohead’s seventh album, In Rainbows, wholly shook up a very stagnant music industry.  Never one to shy away from controversy, Thom Yorke et al decided to dispel the on-going issue of illegal downloading and released their album directly to fans, with an offer; wait for it… to pay whatever they wanted. With 3 million downloads in the first year and $10 million in revenue, In Rainbows swiftly became the band’s most successful commercial success to date.  What is most significant about this marketing campaign is that it restored faith within the music fan – emphasising that fans really are still willing to pay.

Page 1 of 2212345...1020...Last »