Blender's Sundance Mix

Branded music sponsored by VW, Activision

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% As the Sundance Film Festival continues its evolution from a modest cutting-edge indie film event to a full-blown commercial marketing bonanza, Dennis Publishing is looking to burnish one of its brands by making a branded music play during the festival.

The publisher of Maxim was the host this past week for "The Blender Sessions," a series of concerts with some of music's biggest names at Harry O's, one of Park City, Utah's hottest live music venues. Blender is Dennis' multi-genre music magazine.

Volkswagen, Glaceau (the maker of Vitamin Water), and video game publisher Activision, were all participating sponsors with signage and sampling opportunities. Microsoft's Xbox also had a presence with kiosks set up where concertgoers could play games. The sponsors are each shelling out high 5-figures to be involved.

Branded entertainment consultant Michael Kassan, the CEO of Media Link LLC, based in Los Angeles, secured the brand integration on behalf of Dennis.

"[Sundance] certainly has occurred to us as way more than an independent movie festival. It's a great entertainment destination in January for tastemakers with the Hollywood celebrity factor. And we noticed there a lot of music that was going unbranded," said Lance Ford, exec-VP of Dennis Publishing.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% "Lance outlined for me an opportunity for them to create a presence at Sundance and make it a perennial in the way that Maxim has done at the Super Bowl," said Kassan. "This is an interesting play and goes right to the center point of the merger of Madison + Vine."

Acts that performed included Macy Gray, Liz Phair, Nelly, and Jane's Addiction frontman, Perry Farrell.

With all of the recent controversy surrounding the flight of young males away from network television, Dennis, which caters specifically to this demo, believes that Sundance is "a destination where you can capture them. The younger male target, whether it's clinically proven or not, are so media-saturated and attention-deficit disordered. We've clearly found a way to unlock that code with the magazines we put out."

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