Celebrity Marketing as a Form of Entertainment

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Creating entertainment through advertisements increases consumers ability to connect with brands.

Brands strive for consumer attention. Simultaneously, consumers want to be entertained.

Consumers are blasted with advertisements day after day. In an effort to escape from a workaholic lifestyle, consumers embrace entertainment as an enjoyable distraction. As attention spans grow shorter and ad-blocking efforts grow stronger, brands have to find a way to push through the clutter and become memorable.

In order to do so, companies have to move from simply adding brand value to adding entertainment value. Not only should companies sponsor the brand content, but these brands need to be the entertainment.

This “don’t sell, entertain” mindset has gained momentum, especially as musical artists, television stars and athletes have joined the movement. Celebrity marketing content that is entertaining erases the idea that advertisements are purely promotional.

Below are a few brands who have successfully used celebrity marketing to execute this approach:

North Face

With the help of Spotify, North Face partnered with White Denim to take advertisements to a whole new level.

In an effort to promote North Face’s Apex Flex GTX rain jacket, Spotify released the first weather-triggered song. White Denim’s song, “No Nee Ta Slode Aln” was made available by Spotify only in U.S. regions receiving rainfall. Using ClimaTune, Spotify determined which markets to release the song.

In addition, “No Nee Ta Slode Aln” can be heard throughout the marketing campaign for North Face’s new rain jacket.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut partnered with Kristin Wiig for its “Everyman” campaign with a goal to showcase how hot and fresh pizza can be loved by all.

Wiig is featured in two TV advertisements playing a variety of characters, such as an older farmer, male cheerleader, business woman, and mechanic. Chief brand and concept officer of Pizza Hut, Jeff Fox, was quoted in AdWeek saying, “Wiig was a great fit for the role because of her versatility and her ability to play so many different characters – as shown seen in her time on Saturday Night Live.”

Channeling these various personas, Wiig uses her celebrity status to entertain viewers and also promote Pizza Hut as a brand for everyone.

Chase

For its “Battle of the Paddle” digital banking campaign, Chase partnered with not just one celebrity athlete, but two. NBA player Stephen Curry and professional tennis player Serena Williams go head-to-head in an impressive battle of ping pong to promote the convenience of Chase Quickpay.

Yet, before the commercial even launched, Chase created teaser content on various social media channels to encourage viewer interaction. The company gave viewers the choice of #TeamStephen or #TeamSerena to build hype and create social buzz.

The teaser content alone amassed three million video views across Instagram and Facebook.

Altogether, these three examples illustrate the power of celebrity marketing as a form of entertainment. Interrupting consumers with branded messages no longer works. Brands have to create entertainment and decide which celebrity can best enhance their message if they are going to connect with consumers.

photo credit: Al Ibrahim via Flickr

 

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Viral Celebrity Marketing Campaigns Turn Brands into Cultural Phenomena

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Great celebrity marketing partnerships coupled with creative executions can go viral, launching brands into the cultural spotlight.

Pairing a powerful celebrity with an innovative concept provides the opportunity for brands to catapult themselves into the forefront of culture. In an increasingly digital world, the climate is perfect for brands to match celebrities with clever content and go viral, reaching millions of people through shares and retweets. Campaigns go viral because of the celebrities they feature. Consumers are drawn to interesting, funny, inspiring and captivating video ads that include people that they know and can relate to. Here are three elements of viral celebrity marketing campaigns.

 Entertainment Value

Making a campaign entertaining by putting a celebrity in an interesting situation is what makes ads authentic and enjoyable. It allows the brand to integrate with the content rather than being a tack on. This is what blends the brand with the celebrity and message fluidly, without making it seem too promotional.

Nike’s series of ads with Kevin Hart achieved great popularity. The ads were able to entertain consumers and hold their interest because they told an interesting story. Being released right at the New Year when people set goals to work out, the brand had perfect timing using an adored celebrity to position their brand and product at the center of that cultural moment.

 Cost Effective

Producing video ads can be costly, but placing ads at the right time and place is often extremely expensive. When a celebrity marketing campaign is positioned in the right environment for success the ad can go viral, garnering millions of views simply from initial placement on the brand’s social channels.

Apple music’s partnership with Drake and Taylor Swift is a great example of how taking a loved celebrity, a relatable situation and combining it with a funny execution makes a brand the center of social media. These ads had millions of views within hours of their release. The virality of the ads allowed a larger reach for a much lower cost than an alternative medium.

 Leverage From Social Media

Content recommended by friends has extra pull for consumers. They are more likely to trust, buy into, and like messages shared by friends than those placed by brands. Viral videos passed along through social channels from one user to the next have more credibility. Brands benefit when their celebrity marketing campaigns are those being shared.

KitKat created the perfect circumstance to become a cultural phenomenon with their campaign featuring Chance the Rapper. By partnering with a well known celebrity across their target demographic and creating an interesting ad, they reached a vast amount of people in a meaningful way.

By making an authentically interesting ad based around a celebrity, a brand creates an opportunity for themselves to become a cultural icon.

photo credit: Joe The Goat Farmer via Flickr

The Potential Profits of March Madness: How Advertisers are Using Celebrities to Win Big

marchmadness_bg3-1024x616With 67 games aired on national TV, the NCAA has only just begun to rake in the cash.

It is not the simplest task to become ingrained in popular culture, but the minds behind the NCAA Tournament have masterfully made it appear so.

Since they first aired on TV in 1969, the post-season college basketball games have grown in popularity, though it wasn’t until CBS partnered with Turner in 2011 that the tournament exploded in profitability. Between CBS and Turner’s channels, all 67 of the games air nationally. That translates directly to a huge bump in revenue.

Today, March Madness reigns only behind the Super Bowl among the biggest annual sports events. There are no prerequisites for participation – anyone can create a bracket, and as many as 60 million Americans do.

Viewership numbers are nowhere near that of the Super Bowl, but they don’t need to be. Last year’s championship game was watched by a record 28.3 million people. This was more than both the last game of the 2015 NBA Finals and the 2016 College Football Championship. In all three cases annual viewership is on the rise, but nothing compares to the revenue gains March Madness has seen.

With Turner Sports preparing to broadcast the Final Four games in virtual reality and total ad revenue expected to rise as high as $1.3 billion, the future of the tournament is incredibly bright.

As is always the case, this future does lie in the hands of the advertisers, but with growing numbers of eyeballs gluing themselves to the TV and related mobile content, the advertisers too are arriving in droves.

Perennial sponsorship partners and this year’s official NCAA corporate champions, AT&T, Capital One, and Coca-Cola, have all returned with tens of millions to spend, but it is the ads featuring basketball stars that get the most bang for their buck.

From AT&T’s commercial featuring Kenny Smith to NCAA’s own ad starring Charles Barkley, wise decisions were made to attract the most attention. Capital One scored big with a string of commercials starring Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, and Charles Barkley too, and even Lowe’s called on Coach John Thompson III for a comedic spot. Buick hired actor Brad Schmidt for their commercial, which also introduced a special deal they are offering during March Madness. Budweiser even adapted their Super Bowl ad to air one dedicated to the tournament, pairing it with a song by Baauer.

Those who made the wise choice to highlight celebrities in their ads will reap the benefits this year, but with ample proof for the direction they should take, it’s up to next year’s advertisers to follow the trend.

The fans watch the games to see the amateurs perform their best, but it’s the trusted, beloved celebrities that remain constant throughout the tournament. The more companies tap into their potential, the more front and center the advertisements will be.

photo credit: www.brianhartz.com

Celebrity Marketing and Music’s Biggest Night: What the Oscars Can Learn from the Grammys

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A clear message and a celebrity might not be enough.

Though its ambitions may look more like the Super Bowl, the Oscars would be foolish not to learn from the successes and failures of its fellow award show titan, the Grammys. The show featured some of the most groundbreaking ad campaigns ever aired, and though some may have polarized the public, they left a lasting impression on the 25 million viewers.

After singer David Bowie passed away on January 10th, Lady Gaga teamed up with Intel to celebrate, not only the life of the legendary singer, but also the power of music as it entwines with the potential of technology. Her performance was considered a highlight of the show for many people, but having an Intel ad immediately following it drew criticism for capitalizing on a tragedy. Controversy aside, the campaign’s powerful message won it widespread attention, and with over 56 million followers on Twitter, Lady Gaga appears to have been the perfect partner.

Target took an even bigger gamble when they also sponsored a unique performance with a blonde pop star. To promote her latest single, Gwen Stefani appeared in an unprecedented four minute commercial in which she filmed her music video live. The entire campaign reportedly cost Target $12 million dollars, forcing the question of why they chose her for such a massive event. It has been ten years since she has released a hit single, and initial forecasts for her current effort do not appear very promising. With her Target-exclusive album due in March, only time will tell if the gamble pays off.

Sometimes, it is best to let the message take the foreground. In a collaborative new campaign titled “Music Makes it Home,” Apple and Sonos sought to inspire people with testimonials from the lead performers of St. Vincent, the National, and Run the Jewels. The ad did everything it needed to and nothing more, proving that simplicity often rings the loudest.

With music taking a supporting role to the stars of the big screen on February 28th, it will be fascinating to see which brands take advantage of the opportunity. Hyundai and Coca-Cola, former centerpieces of the Oscars’ commercial breaks, have both decided to sit out on the show this year, but even still the ads are sold out. With each 30-second spot costing nearly $2 million and 62% of viewers being women, the mission for those participating is clear. With a defined message and a relevant celebrity to get it across, the commercials themselves can feel like part of the show.

photo credit: www.youtube.com

Incorporating Your Brand With Music Via Celebrity Marketing

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Three ways to sponsor music events and artists for building brand awareness.

Sponsoring music related events and artists shows your audience that you care about the art of music, and it offers the opportunity to create new and engaging ways to reach your consumer, and the opportunity for massive exposure.

According to IEG LLC, North American based companies spent close to 1.34 billion on music venues, festivals, and tours in 2014. The most active sponsors of music related events are The Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo, Inc.

Sponsored music festivals. With music festivals becoming more popular every year, brands have a huge opportunity to see and be seen. The Chicago music festival, Lollapalooza, dedicates its stage names to its sponsors, such as Bud Light, Samsung Galaxy and Palladia. Brands say the biggest advantage to sponsoring music festivals compared to sporting events is that people have a lot of downtime. Besides just beverage and food companies, festivals are now attracting fashion, beauty and technology companies as well, according to Elizabeth Holmes of The Wall Street Journal. Coachella, a weekend festival in Indio, California, had many fashion and beauty brand sponsors this year including H&M and Sephora. H&M had a 360-degree mirrored “selfie station” and Sephora had a makeup station with a vending machine that dispensed free products. Coachella is also a big draw for celebrities including Kate Bosworth, Katy Perry, Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton and Rhianna.

Sponsored music videos: “Trackvertising”  is a new trend in music videos where brands and artists collaborate.  Music videos are a great way to incorporate your brand because people voluntarily watch and share them, and your brand is likely to be remembered. The most successful example of “trackvertising” is Activia and Shakira’s La La La (Brazil 2014). The music video was for World Food Programme, an organization that brings school food to children in impoverished countries. According to mark tech firm, Unruly, it is the most shared ad.  Another example is the collaboration with Fiat and Arianna for the video Sexy People (The Fiat Song) ft. Pitbull. The video predominantly shows a Fiat in almost every shot, but it is still as entertaining as any other music video and has been viewed millions of times.

Sponsored artist tours. Sponsoring artist tours can be a bigger commitment than the previous options but there are many advantages. It can be very beneficial because the typical demographic of the audience reached is known and consumers are having fun while exposed to your brand. One example is Corona Lite sponsoring Kenny Chesney’s “The Big Revival Tour”. Corona knew that it was a perfect tour to sponsor because their slogan is “Find Your Beach” and Chesney sings about drinking beer and beaches, so they were confident that they would reach their demographic.

photo credit: posted by Kenny Chesney on Monday, August 20, 2012

Four Secrets to Saving Money When Licensing Music; Celebrity Marketing Made Easy

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The steps in correctly licensing music and the inevitable price tag can be intimidating, but there are ways to save thousands of dollars on this process while getting the right song for your campaign.

Do a rerecord. If you need or want a particular song but don’t have the budget for the celebrity version, opt for a song rerecord with an unknown artist. So long as the publishing rights are secured (the written words to the song – the composition), a rerecord can be just as effective getting the necessary recognition and emotional response from the target audience. However, be sure to be careful about any clause in the sync agreement that might mention no use of soundalikes. This over site could result in expensive litigation.

In 1990, Tracy-Locke, an advertising agency, used a rerecord of artist Tom Wait’s “Step Right Up” altered significantly to avoid paying for rights in a Frito Lay commercial. Waits sued for four million dollars, winning two and a half million for his voice theft.  This lawsuit didn’t stop other agencies from trying the same. Waits later went on to win cases against Levi in 1993, Audi in 2006, and Adam Opel Ag in 2007. So make sure to acquire the publishing rights and find a non-sound-alike artist to rerecord.

Ask who owns the master. Getting a typical song licensed means paying publishers who represent the composers/writers and the record label who owns the master recording of the song itself. A Most Favored Nations (MFN) clause will likely be in place between both rights owners. An MFN is a contract clause that states whatever party quotes the highest price the other party follows suite as neither license can have more favorable terms. For example, if the label quotes the master rights at $100,000 firm and the publisher quotes $75,000 MFN, the publishers quote will then bump up to $100,000 to follow suite due to the MFN language.

If the artist has a version they own (outside of any ownership by a label), they could waive the MFN fees and you avoid paying the label all together.

Incentivize the artist to rerecordIf the artist doesn’t own a version of the master, it is a good idea to provide some sort of incentive to record their own version to avoid MFN costs with the label. For example, if getting the rights for the original recording of a song costs $400,000 all-in, half ($200,000) goes to the publishing rights, and half ($200,000) goes to the master rights. Offering the artist an extra $100,000 to rerecord the song would mean saving $100,000 for your client/brand should the artist agree as you now will be paying $200,000 for publishing and $100,000 for the rerecord.

Reach out to the artist in question. If the artist is going to appear on camera in a television commercial along with one of their songs, they usually will be open to waiving their publishing fees if they have ownership. If they are not the sole publisher (if their band mates helped write some of the song, etc.) ask the musician to contact them. More often than not, you can acquire the remaining publishing rights at below market cost, due to the help and leverage of the on camera artist.

photo credit: dalioPhoto via photopin cc

Celebrity Marketing: What You Should Know About Music Clearance

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To remove the mystery, avoid common mistakes, and save time, always use a professional for music clearances.

Music can be used to emotionally connect consumers to a brand. But music clearance is a time-consuming, detail-oriented process. Experienced brand marketers know the value of using a professional to help.

Music clearance consists of five areas:

  1. Determining what permissions are needed to make use of a piece of music
  2. Ascertaining the owner(s) of the music
  3. Contacting rights owners and negotiating an appropriate license
  4. Administrating written agreements
  5. Handling other functions related to use and licensing of music.

Music Clearance obtains permission from the owner of a song (the people who wrote it) or a master recording (the people who recorded it), which you would like to use.

For every song written, any number of artists may have made their own recording. As an example, “White Christmas” has been recorded by Bing Crosby, The Partridge Family, Randy Travis, Tiny Tim, John Tesh, Burl Ives, or perhaps even some guy named Herb that you just hired to make a recording. This means that song rights are separate from recording rights.

You cannot use any master recording without getting permission from the publisher(s) to use the song. Conversely, if you gain permission from the publisher, but are denied use of a particular master recording, you can always use a different master recording or record your own master with the publisher(s) permission.

Clearing a song

Any number of composers can be involved in writing one song. Each of these composers may be represented by their own publisher. A music publisher, to generalize, acts as the representative of the composer for their individual rights in regards to anyone using their song.

In order to clear a song, it is necessary to locate and contact the representative of each composer, confirm their ownership or administration percentage rights (i.e., do they own 50% of the song?), and negotiate a fee for use of their share of the song.

Negotiating a fee for use of a song is based on the type of production you have (such as a film, television show, corporate meeting, trade show, commercial, CD-ROM, web site, compilation record, etc.) Other factors involved in the negotiating process are how much of the song is used, and the manner in which it is used. There are a number of rights within different media, that can include synchronization rights, mechanical rights, performance rights.

Clearing a master recording

If you would rather use the Sid Vicious version of “My Way”, than the Frank Sinatra version, you can locate the proper record label and negotiate a use. Different artists will have different record labels and some artists have recorded on several different record labels during their careers.

Clearance of the master recording has nothing to do with clearance of the song. Publishing companies and record companies are almost always are totally separate entities. “My Way” was recorded by Sid Vicious, Frank Sinatra and many others, but was originally composed by Jacques Revaux, with French words by Gillis Thibault. Subsequently, English words were written by Paul Anka.

This is a perfect example of how complicated an apparently simple music clearance can be.

photo credit: Horia Varlan via photopin cc