Coca-Cola has entered into a multiyear marketing and sponsorship alliance with Live Nation, the world's largest concert promoter.
As "the official soft drink of Live Nation," Coke will develop cross-marketing deals using the entertainment giant's assets with a goal of selling more drinks and promoting concerts and artists. Live Nation's vertical assets include its concert venues (House of Blues, others), artist relationships, VIP experiences, online ticketing, licensing and merchandising, music distribution and a growing list of artist-to-fan services.
Under the terms of the sponsorship, Coca-Cola gets exclusive pouring rights in 76 of Live Nation's 84 company-owned venues in the U.S. But this deal isn't about simply swapping some soda signage. It provides opportunities for Coke to tap into Live Nation's growing artist-to-fan pipeline. Last year, the music brand sold about 50 million concert tickets and its Web site attracted 70 million unique visitors globally. Live Nation has access to artist experiences that would provide "open happiness" to many Coca-Cola consumers.
For instance, the deal could allow, say, Sprite an all-access pass to hang backstage with Mario as a promotion, or let music fans redeem Coke Rewards points for U2 tickets, T-shirts or other prizes.
"We can tap into the 12 million fans [of their loyalty program] and market our tickets and merchandise directly to their customers," said Russell Wallach, president of national alliances at Live Nation.
Conversely, the deal would grant Live Nation the kind of exposure that a ubiquitous brand with a seemingly bottomless bank account allows. Live Nation events, venues and artists—the promoter will soon serve as a music distributor for Madonna—will benefit from Coke's marketing muscle on media spanning from the can to the commercial.
"Every single Coke brand makes sense for some kind of music," Wallach said. "Our goal is to develop marketing programs across everybody that Coke touches."