Clio Panels Say Music, Users Build Brands

MIAMI The 48th annual Clio Festival kicked off here today with panels on the use of music in advertising and on the latest trends in user-created content.

Experts at both sessions agreed that marketers and agencies must carefully leverage music and consumer-crafted content to create compelling brand messages.

The music panel was moderated by Tamara Conniff, executive editor, associate publisher at Adweek sibling Billboard magazine.

“Sponsortainment” was the word of the day, coined by David Rolfe, production director, content, at DDB in Chicago. “Sponsortainment is when something is hosted and ushered by the brand,” he said. “You have to be able to mix the sublime and the ugly.” He used the word to describe a TV special DDB helped create for OfficeMax that featured teen idol Jesse McCartney.

Doug Scott, senior partner, executive director of branded content and entertainment at Ogilvy & Mather in New York, noting his agency’s use of music in Dove’s “Evolution” effort, said, “We’re in talks with composers to record music that focuses on self-esteem.”

Indeed, properly matching brands and music is key, said Larry Mestel, CEO at Primary Wave Music in New York, whose company controls the publishing catalog of artists such as Hall and Oates, the Beatles and Nirvana.

“We haven’t found an advertiser appropriate to use with Nirvana in the year we’ve owned them,” he said. “It’s important that we protect Kurt Cobain’s brand and what he stood for,” he said. “It wouldn’t be appropriate for, say, Kentucky Fried Chicken—but it would for something dealing with technology or the environment.”

Added Bonny Dolan, executive producer, artist liaison at Comma Music in Chicago: “I try to hone in on what artist would be good for what product. It’s like being a matchmaker.”

The panel on harnessing user-generated content was hosted by Jeff Stern, CEO at Daily Reel, and Jamie Patricof, Daily Reel’s president.

Examples of successful content included Doritos’ work in the Super Bowl, the new Heinz campaign seeking consumer-created ads and a Blendtec viral that resembles user-generated content but is, in fact, professionally produced, the executives said.

“Right now, there is an opportunity to have an active relationship with the customer,” said Stern. “In general, it’s a good thing if people are interacting with your brand,” even if the results aren’t always entirely positive.

One example was the backlash Chevrolet suffered when it asked for mash-up videos focusing on its Tahoe SUV. Several clips alleged that SUVs were contributing to global warming.

The Clio Awards honoring advertising creativity are presented by the Nielsen Co., which owns Adweek.