Marketers of everything from hair care to beverage brands are using music to target specific demographic groups, ranging from kids to boomers. Some are simply developing catchy jingles, while others are using integrated approaches involving the Internet, customized compact discs and branded concert tours.
"Music helps people remember the message," said Dave DeCecco, spokesman, PepsiCo., Purchase, N.Y., which strengthened its use of music about three years ago. "If they're singing [a jingle] in the shower, that's a good thing."
No doubt, music can help build a brand. But that's only true if it's used the right way. In the consumer packaged goods industry, the most successful marketers will be those that use music to convey their brand's image, according to officials at several marketing companies.
Thinking that music is a good way to go after a certain target group, marketers often sponsor a concert or run an ad in a music-oriented magazine. But these approaches won't work unless the brand is already accepted in the music community, said Rachel Geller, chief strategy officer, the Geppetto Group, New York, a marketing company that targets kids and tweens.
"If you're going to use music, you have to show how your brand relates to the music," said Geller.
Music is often inefficiently leveraged as a seamless marketing tool, according to Steve Yanovsky, partner, the Stronghold Group, Los Angeles, which develops music and celebrity associations to benefit both artists and corporate brands.
Stronghold has found that brand marketers often believe they know more about the music space than they actually do. Consequently, they often underutilize most of the media assets available in the music space and within a relationship that they have created with an artist or music property.
The best way for marketers to tie in with music is to immerse a brand within the music space that complements the brand's relationship to the consumers, said Yanovsky.
"It's important that brands go into the music space, rather than try to bring music into their space," Yanovsky said.
Brands that don't have credibility in the music world should start out with less-overt tactics, and gradually work up to large music promotions, added Jonathan Ressler, chief executive officer, Big Fat Promotions, a New York marketing company.
"Unless the music is relevant to a brand and you've earned the right to be in the target's world, then you have no reason to tie in with music," Ressler said.
The Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, made sure it did just that when its Pantene brand made its foray into music marketing over the summer.
Saying that Pantene believes in "the power of personal transformation and in the individuality and beauty of every woman," it created the Pro-Voice music competition, a national contest designed to recognize young women who use their voice as a tool for positive self-expression. Partners included "Seventeen" and seventeen.com, Atlantic Records, Comcast Cable Communications, Transworld Music Group, Much Music Television and mmusa.tv, Ford and iGen card.
This year's grand prize winner received a recording contract from Atlantic Records; a $10,000 endowment to the high-school music department of her choice; a new Ford Focus; distribution of her winning song on the Pantene Pro-Voice CD; and multiple performances as the opening act on a concert tour. The Pantene Pro-Voice CD will be distributed via the program partners and via a multi-city "Pantene Pro-Voice Tour," which is running this month and next. Although details of next year's event haven't been released yet, P&G officials say it once again will be an opportunity for unsigned female solo artists and female-fronted bands age 14 to 24 to showcase their talent as singer/songwriters. A special Web site, www.pro-voice.com, will provide details of the event, which will kick off in January 2002.
Although music hasn't played a role in Pantene's marketing program until now, P&G felt music would enable it to speak with Pantene's core consumers, who are between the ages of 14 and 24.
"This is a tool to recognize and celebrate women who use their voice for positive self-expression," said Kim Vollbrecht, spokeswoman, P&G.
Pepsi is also using marketing partnerships to enhance various music promotions. Its biggest effort recently is a multiyear marketing agreement with pop star Britney Spears. The relationship includes TV advertising, point-of-purchase materials, consumer promotions and hyperlinks to their respective Web sites, www.britneyspears.com and www.pepsi.com.
Geller of the Geppetto Group said Pepsi strategically uses Spears to benefit the Pepsi brand. She noted that the alliance goes much deeper than only portraying Spears as an artist who loves Pepsi.
"What [Spears] reflects in her attitude, clothes and presence in ads is what Pepsi wants Pepsi to reflect. So, there's a connection," she said.
Pepsi also has aligned itself with music through another big effort, pepsistuff.com, which launched last month and runs through the end of the year.
Created through a partnership with Yahoo!, pepsistuff.com is an online promotion that allows consumers to earn points for music downloads, online gaming subscriptions, discounts and many other digital awards.
While this is the second year of the program, there are many more digital downloads available and there is an instant-win component on the site. Instant-win merchandise includes products from Pepsi, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Electronic Arts, Sam Goody, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Vans, Yahoo! Shopping and Ch@tables, among other companies.
The promotion is open to consumers who purchase one of the 1.2 billion specially marked 20-ounce and 1-liter bottles and/or fountain cups of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi ONE, Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Mug Root Beer and Orange Slice. Bottles and cups are marked with a "Pepsistuff.com, powered by Yahoo!" logo.
Under each cap is a code that consumers can enter into an account they set up at Pepsistuff.com or Dewstuff.com. Participants can earn anywhere from 100 to 1,000 points under each cap.
Last year, more than 3 million people registered for the program, and 80% of those "opted-in" to receive more information from Pepsi.
While music is used in many different ways for various Pepsi products, it has been a particularly large part of the Pepsi brand for several years. From the early jingles like "Nickel, Nickel" to the current "Joy of Pepsi" campaign, music is a key part of its marketing, said Dave DeCecco, company spokesman.
"We frequently work with music celebrities to keep our message current with consumers," said DeCecco.
Music is an important promotional tool for Pepsi because it enables the company to associate its brands with "fun." Pepsi didn't have a jingle for a couple of years in the late '90s. That changed three years ago, when it was developing a new ad campaign for Pepsi (which turned into the Joy of Cola; now the Joy of Pepsi). When it asked consumers what they thought of when they thought of colas, it got answers like "fun" and "joy." So it focused the campaign on joy, and developed a jingle as the centerpiece of the campaign, according to DeCecco.
Pepsi is also using music in other ways. This month it will announce the winner of a sweepstakes that paired its FruitWorks juice drink line with MTV.
The MTV/FruitWorks Consumer Electronics Sweepstakes will give a grand prize winner and three guests an invitation to MTV's New Year's Eve party in New York City. The grand-prize winner also receives a full line of newly launched MTV-branded music electronics manufactured by Refac Consumer Products, including a portable CD player, beach radio and clock radio. Twenty first-prize party packs, consisting of MTV CD players and FruitWorks prizes, are also being given away. A similar promotion was held last year.
"By continuing to partner with MTV -- a favorite network among many teens and young adults -- we're keeping our brand relevant among its most loyal consumers," said Robin Kaminsky, director of alternative beverages, Pepsi-Cola. "With this year's program, FruitWorks is reminding consumers to celebrate in the fun, unexpected moments that break up their daily routines."
The Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., has also worked to reach music lovers. It recently offered a country music compilation compact disc through a mail-in offer on specially marked boxes of Kellogg's cereals.
Produced in part by BMG Special Products, New York, a producer of music-based premiums and incentives, the "Driving 'Em Crazy" promotion offered one of three free CDs via a mail-in offer. Over 40 million boxes of specially marked Kellogg's cereals -- including Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes and Mini-Wheat brands -- were emblazoned with images of participating country music stars, including Martina McBride, Sara Evans and the band Three of Hearts.
The promotion was supported by a freestanding insert reaching 50 million, $500,000 in radio advertising and in-store point-of-sale materials.
Heineken USA has taken the CD approach to new levels with the creation of its own record label, Red Star Records. Created through a partnership with Epic Records, the label just put out its first album, "Red Star Sounds Volume One: Soul Searching." The Stronghold Group created and executed the program.
While Heineken has kept brand references to a minimum, the Red Star, Heineken's brand icon, is featured on the album's cover.
Heineken is marketing the CD through the Heineken Foundation, a charitable organization designed to give back to urban communities by supporting the development of urban music and music education. The foundation is raising funds for music education through a series of CD music samplers under the Red Star Records label. One such program is VH-1's "Save the Music," a program committed to restoring music education programs in public schools.
"It's our way of doing something positive for the community," said Scott Hunter Smith, president of the foundation.
"Red Star Sounds Volume One: Soul Searching" features new and original material from platinum-selling, emerging and unknown R&B artists, including Erykah Badu, Macy Gray and Nelly Furtado. It is being sold in music stores, as well as on the foundation's Web site, www.heinekenfoundation.com.
"The purchase of this soulful CD is a great way to get your groove on while aiding a good cause -- helping the Heineken Foundation to 'Save The Music' in our public school systems throughout the U.S.A.," the heinekenfoundation.com Web site says.