Levi’s Sees Early Traction with Facebook Campaign Featuring Live Music Event

Levi’s has made its biggest effort yet to reach Facebook users, by using its Page and other features to popular live music venue, Fader Fort, at the South by Southwest Music conference and festival last week in Austin, Texas. The move builds on its long-standing partnership with The Fader music publication — a way for Levi’s to get influential young music lovers buying more of its apparel.

Officially known as “Levi’s/Fader Fort” — although most concertgoers call it “Fader Fort” — the 9 year-old event is literally a big compound located a short walk from the main festival in downtown Austin. It’s complete with a main stage, a couple DJ side-booths, free drinks and a Levi’s jeans product store and tailoring facility (where performers can get a free pair of fitted jeans, which from what we saw they wore on stage).

Facebook is essentially a new way for musicians, Levi’s and the many other sponsors, including Zynga, and vendors involved to take the big event they have going and reach even more users. Thousands of people attended last Tuesday through Saturday, drawn by headline acts from Metrics and The Constellations, Yelawolfe, Memory Tapes, Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony and dozens more, and the promotion the fort had gotten from Fader, Levi’s and other sponsors.

We sat down at the event with Levi’s director of digital marketing, Megan O’Connor, to hear more about the effort. Levi’s will be focusing its social media efforts on Facebook this year, she tells us, and the promotion is its first big move.

The company has designed its Page to revolve around the fort, at the moment. It has been posting regular updates throughout the week on its main Levi’s Facebook Page, including messages, photos and videos of bands and attendees, and been providing a live stream of each show in a tab on the Page, and on the Fort Fader web site, with the help of live broadcaster Justin.tv. Social marketing platform company, Involver, which has been working closely with Levi’s to create it’s Facebook Presence, has been powering the Music application in another tab. Users can listen to full songs from performing bands here, and share them with their Facebook friends. The app also includes a poll — “What’s your favorite tactic for selecting SXSW shows?” — and a video archive.

The Page does not neglect direct product tie-ins. The Style tab, also by Involver, shows users the latest fashion coming out of Levi’s, and includes photo slideshows and links to the Levi’s home web site. Now that the event is done, the company is also advertising discounts on its “rocker style” jeans through the page.

To help promote the Page and Fort Fader, Levi’s also began running home page ads on Facebook at the beginning of the month, including RSVP ads for the Fort Fader Facebook event Page, ads asking users to become fans of the Levi’s Page, and video ads. Levi’s targeted the ads to users ages 18 to 34, who designated music as an interest in their profiles.

The stats on these products, from O’Connor:

  • The ad campaign has received 72 million impressions in total to date
  • Live streaming began Wednesday, and has received half a millions views in the last two days on Facebook. This does not count its its videos on its home site, YouTube and elsewhere.
  • Songs have been shared nearly 3,000 times on Facebook
  • The fan page has grown by more than 40% in the last two weeks. It now has 238,000 monthly active users

One key lesson from this year, so far, is that the company will focus its advertising within the space of a week instead of spread out over a longer time period — a fact that any big Facebook advertiser can potentially learn from. Facebook is a different advertising medium from other forms of web advertising. While brand banner advertising, for example, relies on frequency and reach, advertising on Facebook should be designed around the social graph. By concentrating Facebook ads in a short time frame, the company can potentially trigger more viral growth of its message — for example, if many of a user’s friends RSVP to an ad or become a fan of a Page, Facebook is more likely to display a story about that in their news feed. If this effect can kick in for many different users, the advertiser can greatly increase the number of people who see news feed stories related to the campaign.

But Facebook advertising, Pages and other features are getting an increasing amount of experimentation from brands. Levi’s has taken a bigger plunge than most of its apparel rivals, that we’ve seen, and the results so far appear promising. The company plans to use its Page to promote other events later this year, including the CMJ Music Marathon — another music tie-in — and the launch of Levi’s fall product line — according to O’Connor. More information on events integration, Facebook advertising, and other marketing tools that Levi’s leveraged for its live music-driven campaign can be found in the Facebook Marketing Bible, our comprehensive guide to brand marketing and advertising on Facebook.