The Buggles famously sang “Video Killed The Radio Star” in 1979 and now, more than three decades on, music videos are the most popular of any video content shared on the web. Just one of the top 100 most shared online videos of all time is not for a music track (Kony 2012), according to Unruly Media’s Viral Video Chart.
While brands have a long track record of paying to appear in music videos – Lady Gaga’s 2010 “Telephone” video featured nine different branded products alone – a new trend is emerging of brands becoming music video directors in their own right.
Which brands are Top of the Pops?
Most recently Volvo teamed up with Swedish House Mafia as part of its efforts to ramp up the brand’s association with Scandanavian design and lifestyle. The music trio’s video for new track “Leave the World Behind” features Volvo’s XC60 car twisting its way through the Swedish seaside throughout.
The trend is particularly prominent among car marques. In April, Arianna’s video for “Sexy People” featuring US rapper Pitbull also features a number of scenes from a 2012 Fiat commercial.
Elsewhere in the car industry, Chevrolet’s overt tie up with US band OK Go in their “Needing/Getting” video was the most shared ad of 2012, with more than 1.2 million shares across social media and 25.6 million views, according to Unruly.
In 2013 brands such as Carlsberg, which released an interactive music video for solo artist Axwell earlier this month; Pepsi, which created the official “Mirrors” video for Beyonce; and H&M which also features in a Beyonce music video – “Standing On The Sun” – have all tapped into this growing trend, which experts predict is only likely to grow in the coming months.
The power of [consumer] love
Dan Best, planning director at Unruly Media, thinks this is because advertisers are looking to take their role as content creators more seriously but the biggest change is that in these types of videos, brand prominence is clear.
He adds: “Some advertisers are beginning to realise overt branding doesn’t affect the consumer enjoying and sharing the content with their social networks, providing it’s emotionally engaging. This prominence makes it far easier for brand managers to measure the value of their investment.”
US research from music video streaming service Vevo, in partnership with UM and neuroscience research agency Neuro Insight, found music videos strike “by far” a stronger emotional chord in viewers compared with TV or online series and that viewers who watch an advert during a music video are more likely to encode it to memory than if they had watched it in a TV commercial break. A UK version of the study is being released later this year.
Nic Jones, Vevo’s vice president of international, says music videos are an ideal way to connect with fans, drive revenue and to tell stories.
He adds: “Music is something that people feel really passionate about. It’s a really compelling way of connecting fans to the artists they love, so it’s not at all surprising that brands want to be a part of that. In terms of engagement, we have 11 million monthly viewers in the UK, so it’s a huge audience to target.”
Get by with a little help from your friends
Rebecca Shears, UK and Ireland head of marketing for printing and personal systems at HP, which has created a number of music videos and live streams of gigs to promote its in-built Beats Audio functionality, says artist tie-ups are the ideal way to tap into 18 to 35 year-old consumers’ most popular passion point.
She advises, however, that brands must “understand their strengths” and have a reason to create such content otherwise consumers could be immediately turned off.
“Context is really important. Lots of brands want to get involved in music but you have to understand what your strengths are and maybe partner with people who can bring something to the table [as HP has done with the likes of the NME, Last.fm, Guardian and Universal Music Group to promote its music marketing events and videos],” she adds.