Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

“The Irish music scene would not be as vibrant today without all the marketing involvment”

That quote is taken from a piece which appeared in a recent issue of Marketing magazine. It was written by Colm Ó Riagáin from Slattery Communications who has worked on music sponsorship gigs involving Nokia (yes, including those infamous Nokia …

Wed, Apr 16, 2008, 08:42


That quote is taken from a piece which appeared in a recent issue of Marketing magazine. It was written by Colm Ó Riagáin from Slattery Communications who has worked on music sponsorship gigs involving Nokia (yes, including those infamous Nokia Trends Lab events which seem to have gone a little quiet of late) and Hennessy.

It’s an interesting piece, especially given how much we’re led to believe that bands will depend on brands for cashflow in the future now that the revenue stream from sales of plastic discs is no longer a viable way of putting food on the table.

While many brands have rushed into the music arena with all guns blazing, O Riagain feels that a much more considered view must be taken by aspiring sponsorship players.

Music is not a quick fix for brands. Those interested in marketing through music must have a long-term strategy in place and they need to ensure that their association is a collusion of brand, brand experience and interactivity that fits with music and the marketer’s objectives. More crucially, big brands should not settle for a trite association; they need to be a conduit and if the concept is not working really well after say three years, the likelihood is it never will. In other words, it is time to consider pulling the plug.

Ó Riagáin also points out that music consumers are no idiots and can spot a dodgy sponsorship deal a mile away.

Consumers, now more than ever, are aware of companies trying to get their attention through music in a bid to get them “on-side”, brands must give consumers ‘added value’ – often in the manifestation of something they cannot get elsewhere. A survey by UK agency, Entertainment Media Research, highlighted this issue. When consumers were asked their opinion about brands working in the music space, 82 per cent of those surveyed said that there were few brands interested in music and the rest are just jumping on the bandwagon. As many as 86 per cent thought brands needed to do a lot more than logo placement to gain their respect. More importantly for bands (not brands), 75 per cent thought that bands sell out too easily to brand sponsorship deals.

Given that the piece is addressed at the marketing and advertising community, Ó Riagáin unfortunately does not address such issues which have been raised here and elsewhere in the past about how and why branded events are every jot as expensive as unbranded events or how to make the events more attractive to punters.

While he cites Bacardi and their B-Live club events as an example of a successful sponsorship hook-up, it would have been interesting to see how he would judge other sponsored events such as the high-profile Meteor Music Awards or Vodafone’s Bright New Sounds using the same set of criteria.

He also doesn’t explain the rationale behind that quote about the Irish music scene (used as the title of this post) which stands out a little like a big sore thumb in what is, in all others respects, a well reasoned piece.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would believe the Irish music scene has benefited greatly from the huge amount of usually wrong-headed and badly judged marketing and brand activity. Beyond those promoters who have lined their pockets with cash from various beer and brand marketing budgets, Irish punters have gained mostly nothing from brand activities in Ireland, which probably explains the cynicism when yet another beer company announces yet another music festival featuring the same old line-up and the same old ticket prices.

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