Wednesday 22 May 2019

Battle of brands to be festival hit

Brands are desperate to be on song at music festivals.
Brands are desperate to be on song at music festivals.

Michael Cullen

With summer, comes festival season. A time of year where brands desperately fight to be seen and heard and battle to be noticed by the holy grail of their target audience - the music fan. Mark Kilbride, client services account director at youth marketing agency Thinkhouse, says the first mistake brand owners make is to think they can 'own' music.

"Music, just like the greatest marketing campaigns, is utterly subjective," Kilbride told AdLib. Some brands fail to connect with their audience as they assume young people love music. The belief that by simply showing up at festivals and plastering a logo on the side of a tent or outside a concert venue will do the trick. Not so.

Peter Caviston.
Peter Caviston.

Thinkhouse founder and MD Jane McDaid says young people are tech savvy, better travelled, more 'woke,' and aware of what good and bad marketing looks like. "It's not about owning music," McDaid says, "it's about brands having music in common with fans and together making it incredible".

“Thinkhouse works with a number of brands as part of summer festivals like Pride, Longitude, Sea Sessions and, of course, Electric Picnic. Kilbride says an agency’s job can include anything from negotiating partnerships, stage design, developing ‘live’ festival content to developing PR and advocacy programmes”.

The music landscape and the consumer change seismically year-on-year, festival-on-festival. Brands must remain relevant, with in-the-moment insights to reflect the culture. Claire Hyland, who's head of the Youth Lab at Thinkhouse, says recent research shows that festivalgoers spend over twice as much time in the campsite as they do in the main arena. The finding prompted the agency to change how they approached the activation, linking it back to the campsite to drive attendance and engagement. Hyland says tech and social media "exploded" the numbers of people they connect with and impacts on how the brand "shows up".

The rules of the music sponsorship game are about pushing the boundaries at events and see the bigger picture. McDaid says Thinkhouse recently recruited from Droga5 and Mr Saturday Night (NYC) to work alongside events and festival management lead Eoin Cregan. Work extends beyond the festival stage through films, photography, PR and social media. Unlike heatwaves, music is not just a summer chorus - it's a constant in fans' lives. McDaid says the festival circuit is one thing, but there's a whole lot of other rockin' going on with fans year-round.

Q Windmill Lane Pictures has appointed former VoxPro chairman Brendan Binchy as its new chairman. Now run by Dave Quinn, Windmill has been in business for over 40 years and is synonymous with TV dramas like 'Love/Hate', film-makers Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan, iconic ads like Guinness's 'Island' and, of course, U2 and the early days of TV3.

Windmill's more recent work includes 'Maze', starring Tom Vaughan, Lawlor and Peter Foote's 'Young Offenders'. It produced audio for 'Transformers' and 'Danger Mouse' and ads for AA Ireland, Bord Bia, Vodafone, Dulux, Virgin, Aldi and Lidl. Work in the pipeline includes 'Taken Down', a new crime drama from the makers of 'Love/Hate' and 'Peaky Blinders', starring Lynn Rafferty as Detective Jen Rooney.

Q Brand consultancy Wemakedesign has had its own brand overhaul, and - as if by magic - Alkamee is born. Founder and business development director Nik Dillon says the agency wants to get the message out there that what they do is much more than just graphic design.

Based in Dublin's Docklands, Dillon's business partner is Adam Gallacher, who's credited with looking after the agency's strategy and creative services. Alkamee clients include AIB, Airbnb, Beacon Hospital, Flogas, Irish Heart Foundation, Odearest and RTÉ.

Q Chemistry created the new ad campaign running across all NewsBrands Ireland title showcasing the ReAction research findings into the effectiveness of press advertising. The study was conducted by international research agency Research & Analysis of Media (RAM). It evaluated the effectiveness of five ad campaigns across national newspapers over 10 days in March. The ads highlight RAM metrics advertising effectiveness research which found that print is an 'action media'.

Q In his new book, 'Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now', author Jaron Lanier labels social media as "the crap that is destroying society... our grand mistake". Lanier says platforms like Twitter are erasing our free will, undermining truth, destroying empathy and "turning us into addicts and assholes". Even if quitting social media entirely is not your thing, the book will make you think hard about how harmful it can be.

And finally... Here's to raising a glass of vino to the ever-coy Peter Caviston, of Caviston's Food Emporium in Glasthule, Dublin. The 'poor fishmonger' was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at Checkout's Best in Fresh awards. The gongs extol the fresh food virtues of retail suppliers, chains and standalone stores across Ireland.

Michael Cullen is editor of;

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