General Mills, Lexus and Levi’s Play with Digital Radio

Music is a hip branding avenue to millennial demo

General Mills this afternoon will give out around 10,000 samples of its nine-month old product, BFast, at a free Bridgit Mendler concert in Los Angeles as part of the Pandora Presents series. The packaged-goods giant is ramping up its music-marketing game for the breakfast shake, which takes aim at millennials that skip their morning meal.

"Music is a huge part of all people's lives, particularly young adults," Betsy Frost, a senior marketing manager at General Mills, told Adweek. "All the consumer brands that have successfully come up in recent years—you've discovered them. There are certain channels of discovery, such as social media and friends' advocacy. But we also think of Pandora as one of those discovery channels."

There's also a cool social component to the push. An Instagram-enabled photo booth, dubbed Prinstagram, will be at the concert, which is being held on the grounds of Tinsel Town's Americana at Brand mall. With online and offline viral in mind, attendees will be able to print their Instagram pics using hashtag #PandoraPresents.

"Los Angeles is an area where there are lots of colleges and lots of people in General Mills' desired demo," said Tommy Page, Pandora's head of music partnerships (and notable 1990s pop singer). "We created a show that completely targets their audience through the artist and the activation's live experience. And through the Prinstagram booth, it can go global through the social graph."

Brand activations increasingly are becoming part of the ads packages of digital music services. TuneIn, which offers music, talk radio, sports and news programs, has helped Lexus and Levi's create branded stations on its service. (Oakland, Calif.-based Pandora offers a similar sponsorship platform.)

TuneIn's digital radio stations run across Web, mobile and connected devices such as "smart" refrigerators. An interesting data point from the San Francisco firm, which has 40 million users: 10 percent of its programming is transmitted via connected devices.

Here's more on the Lexus and Levi's programs:

  • A content center called Up to Speed, Powered by Lexus, is running on TuneIn's platform, offering programs on art, culture, technology and other subjects. It's essentially a podcasts/radio hub where consumers can be exposed to the brand as part of the larger 2014 Lexus GX campaign. An even mix of audio and display ads are directing TuneIn users to the hub.
  • Levi's has created a 1970s-themed TuneIn station for its Orange Tab vintage clothing line. It has a dedicated team of deejays spinning Stevie Wonder, Bee Gees and Black Sabbath for the station, called Orange Tab Radio. Can you dig it?

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