We believe that bringing brands, content, celebrities and influencers together makes storytelling more meaningful and impactful.
Music video partnerships are one of our agency's favorite ways for brands to see really-fast consumer engagement, social chatter and website traffic, and sales. Partnering with a music artist is a great marketing tool that allows a brand to gain millions of impressions – far more than perhaps what they could have gotten if they had not been in a music video.
But how do you even get your brand to partner with the next biggest music star? In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares the important steps to take when creating a music video partnership.
When I meet with brands who have a target demo that includes tweens to mid-twenties, one of the first two questions I dive in to explore are their current strategies and approaches to 1) TikTok and 2) music.
If the answer is that they just haven't quite gotten around to building out a thoughtful plan, then the result is that the brand is likely missing out on a very golden opportunity to leverage two very powerful marketing platforms - potentially even together.
We love building strategic programs around music - with a but. Music partnerships require a brand partner, or their agency, to be very nimble. There is a big benefit as music is one of the fastest mediums to work with to get a result quickly to happen.
There are concerts your brand can sponsor, album launches and so much more - but one of the ways to get started and have your brand seen by millions (if not billions)... is through music videos.
The flip side though, for music videos is that the majority of the time, it's a bit of a race as the video will be green-lit and shot in less than a 1 to 2-week time period.
That's great in the fact that they then turn the video around quickly and get it aired. But if you don't already have a strategy in place with a plan built for when that great music artist fit pops us - it can be a major effort. It is the norm that music partnerships require a herculean effort to jump through hoops very quickly to pull the partnership together. Very doable but definitely an 'off to the races' moment that you want to have the right team in place to help you get the most value out of the partnership. Brands who typically take weeks (or longer!) to get to a contract won't able to keep up.
Photo Credit: YouTube | Mashable.com Composite
Brand exposure in a music video has the potential to far outreach what can be secured through product placement in a movie or TV show, with the additional benefit of international impact. Music unites generations and seamlessly transcends language and cultural barriers, unlike any other medium. Because of this, music can be used by brands to target consumers by age, gender, music taste, and even psychographic detail. Music provides a constant beat to our daily lives, and brands that successfully harness this power open the door to becoming trendsetters, driving social conversation, and reaping sales profits.
Digital video consumption is still on the rise, and it has become today’s mainstay of consumer exposure to music videos. Artists and their labels love brand partnerships because they enable the music video to have money to actually be made. Brand partnerships with music videos have nothing to do with the artist wanting to make money from the deal itself. They have everything to do with having the artist wanting to KEEP money (and not repay it back).
When a label approves paying for a music video for an artist, the label, in most cases, is not taking all the risk. Instead, what is happening is that the label will cover the production costs of the music video - with the stipulation that they are going to be paid back at least partially from album sales. That means the artist ultimately is not getting paid until the label had been repaid.
Or there may be a certain look that the music artist wants to go creatively within the music video that is out of budget - and a brand partnership can help offset those added costs.
Keep reading to learn 10 steps to help you get to a massive onscreen win!
Music videos offer one of the fastest turn-around times from script to screen in entertainment marketing. This is terrific for brands that are at the ready – and very difficult for brands who need more time to evaluate and consider. To ensure the ability to move quickly when that right fit comes resounding over the airwaves, brand managers should put a plan in place with these 10 steps to create a successful music video partnership.
First, decide what your overall goal is with partnering with the artist. What do you want them to do? Show your brand, drink it, wear it, lovingly caress it? Do you want the artist to post a portion of the clip on their Instagram or TikTok? The answer is that yes, yes you do if you can afford it - it can be more expensive than the music video integration, however.
Partnering with a music video or the lyric video that accompanies the debut of top hit songs allows the brand to become seamlessly integrated into the music storyline. Who says there are no guarantees in life? With music videos, dollars talk, and brands can lock in guaranteed minimum seconds and appearances on screen. The music video producer and director will work to incorporate the brand into the storyboards so that clear expectations are managed by all.
Keep in mind who the desired demographic is. If you are reading this and are above 40 - good luck. If you are a parent, your kids may be keeping you in the loop. But those names you remember from your youth that were just SO BIG? Well... yes, they are still big. But they are not the ones that are going to move the needle. The Gen Zers want authenticity, and they love emerging artists. That is part of the goldmine that you may be missing out on. Regardless - knowing the very specific demo you are catering to will determine what music genre – and ultimately artist – to target. From rock to pop, country to rap, and more, there is a genre that fits every brand.
Determine the available budget. Integrations with a name that anyone knows is going to be at least $50k and up to $250k+. The biggest artists command the most money. Emerging artists are hungry and open to bundled partnerships. Just think if you had partnered with HER or Doja Cat just 3 years ago - your brand would have become part of the top trending videos over the last few years. Defining a budget allows your team to present offers to labels in advance so that your brand is all teed up for the partnership when it does come to life. Knowing what budgets are available will allow you and your agency to hone in on appropriately tiered artists, versus madly wishing for them to just be cheaper. There are artists for every budget size that will help move the needle for your brand.
Photo Credit: Lukas Greyson | Dreamstime.com
Get a copy of the song to determine if it supports the brand’s messaging. Light, fun, or flirty versus violent or overtly sexual make a big difference. Today, you need to listen to the words and then decide.
Next, find out what the storyline of the video will be. Many music videos interpret images and scenes from the song's lyrics, while others take a more thematic approach. Make sure the story will provide brand lift versus negativity.
Review the storyboards to ensure there is an opportunity for organic integration. Just as with any entertainment partnership, fans want relevancy. Don't be afraid of being shown in an offbeat way. This is not about having complete control over your brand but allowing a creative team to help determine the best way to showcase your brand within the video. You'll get approvals - don't worry about that. But if you do have a narrow restriction they need to stay within, make sure you share that so the free-spirited creatives don't go down the wrong path.
Realize that not all music artists will drive a partnership into a home run. Some artists are not brand-friendly and may make promises they don’t keep. Get iron-clad agreements in place to protect the partnership, which include penalties for lack of performance should the brand be offsetting a significant budget by providing an exclusive location for the shoot or a high quantity of product. Make sure the label and the manager are on board and find out who is controlling the artist’s execution of the plan. Realize things go left and zig-zag all over the place when trying to get things back to right. They do get there - but you are working with creative spirits who have bad days and are not corporate. Roll with it, keep your eye on the goals and objectives, and enjoy the ride as much as you can. The win is worth it. Some artists are AWESOME. Others, not so much. But that win... of one of the lowest CPMs you will be able to find anywhere, is pretty awesome.
If the partnership does go upside down, and the shoot doesn't happen for one of a thousand reasons that will make no sense, then take a moment to breathe and decide if you want to give it another go with the same artist. I want to re-iterate here - things can get messy on set. Days go long and dance moves aren't coming together, hair and makeup have a colossal time trying to meet the vision of the director and go way into overtime, all of which can result in the brand partnership not happening. Or worse yet, being filmed - but cut from the final edit due to yet again one of many things that can go wrong. This is where it helps to have someone there to hold your brand's figurative hand to get you across the finish line. It's still not guaranteed - but more likely that you will find success.
Consider the artists’ social media reach. There is tremendous value in creating supporting marketing tactics that allow the artist to engage their fan base with the brand. Look to see what legs can be built with teasers and artist-driven brand call-outs on those social media sites. You may be able to even build artist-driven sweepstakes that will further promote the partnership. Just know as I said above - an artist's social post in their feed may very likely be much more than the music video itself cost. This is just the way of things in the wild west of wacky social influencers and content posting. If you want the post, find more budget. You can also work with fans of the artist to create a social overlay.
Consider what opportunities exist to bring the brand partnership to life outside of the music video. Partnership options beyond storyline integration with music videos include:
When a brand becomes part of a music video or lyrics of a song, the brand partnership is there forever. Consumers cannot simply skip the advertisement and are more likely to trust the opinion of the artist promoting the brand in the song or video. Music and brand partnerships are here to stay and will only continue to grow and further develop into extremely strategic business models.
Want to check out other blogs written by our team about the power of music, product placement, partnerships, and marketing? Check them out below:
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Stacy Jones, Hollywood Branded's founder and CEO, has over twenty six years of leadership experience building global entertainment branding campaigns for top Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of brands. Her career started after receiving her BFA in Theater Production & Scenic Design from the University of Arizona. Acknowledged as an expert in the field, she has appeared on CNN and MSNBC; spoken at conferences around the globe from Germany to Beijing; and has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Financial Times, The Economist, Brandweek, Advertising Age, Variety, B&C and Mediaweek amongst others. Originally from Texas, you will still hear her ya’ll as she gathers the team for strategy planning sessions. Like all true entrepreneurs, Stacy is an adventurer at her core – having sky dived, hang glided off bi-planes, swam with crocs while rafting the Zambezi in Africa, photographed grizzly bears in Alaska, trekked Mayan ruins in Belize, explored the ocean as an avid scuba diver, and who loves owning an advertising agency where she swims with a different type of Hollywood shark on a daily basis.