10 Brands That Made Music Part of Their Marketing DNA

From AdAge:

<adage_no_lookbook_links>Licensing popular songs for ads is so passé. Here are the advertisers who have a track record of going a step further with music — and demonstrating for consumers that making tunes is a meaningful part of their marketing DNA.


“Unstaged” is the name of American Express‘ livestream experience of concert performances by major musical acts. The program, which started in 2010, boasts high-quality production, with the brand bringing in notable directorial talents to shoot the shows. AmEx partners with Vevo and YouTube on the events, which air on amexunstaged.com. The results can be intriguing, like in 2013, when Vampire Weekend headlined while Steve Buscemi sat in the director’s chair. This year’s performance also included a “choose your cam” feature that let audiences see the performance from the director’s main camera or the artist’s POV. Previous pairings included: The Killers and Werner Herzog; Kenny Chesney and Jonathan Demme; Duran Duran and David Lynch; and Jack White and Gary Oldman.



Since stepping becoming chief creative officer at Burberry in 2001, Christopher Bailey has made music a key piece of the fashion brand’s marketing efforts. One of its biggest music initiatives has been Burberry Acoustic, which highlights the work of emerging British talents through a series of stylish online videos. The artists, naturally, are outfitted in Burberry clothing, but the spotlight falls most directly on them and their work. Recently, Mr. Bailey has woven music into the brand’s high-profile runway shows. Last February, he invited up-and-comer Tom Odell to join the models on the catwalk for a live performance. The brand also now employs a full-time music team. Music “sets the directional mood for what we’re working on,” Mr. Bailey told The Guardian earlier this month, adding that with his music team, he’s able to have “the most random conversations that I would be embarrassed to have with anybody else. I can talk to them about a feeling or a particular kind of voice and they will just suggest an artist.”


When Lincoln revamped its image early last year, it adopted the tagline “Hello Again.” An ambitious project in which the automaker spent a year collaborating with artists followed. The first concept out of the gate was a live show by Lincoln agency Hudson Rouge and director Chris Milk, which featured singer Beck performing his interpretation of David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision.” The performance was filmed at the 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles for 3D, using multiple cameras. It was then turned into a 360-degree interactive experience. The brand also tapped directing duo Wriggles and Robbins to reimagine the old-school LP. They created a film that saw the world from the record’s point of view, depicting people’s reactions to the music imprinted within it — Amateur Beast’s “Be Happy.” Best of all, it was done by asking actors to improvise a scene when they heard the music for the first time.

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