Brands Wired To Lollapalooza

Tech marketers with inside track

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%%STORYIMAGE_RIGHT%% Lollapalooza, the touring music festival from the early '90s, is being resurrected this summer after a six-year hiatus, presenting brands new partnership opportunities.

Lollapalooza co-owner and mastermind Perry Farrell returns, supported by the William Morris Agency, another original co-owner of the property that was launched in 1991 as grunge and other guitar-driven modern rock was exploding. Touting the festival as a fusion of music, lifestyle and technology, Farrell is involved in every aspect of the tour, including sponsorships.

Michael Abrams, managing director of Lollapalooza confirmed that Microsoft Xbox is on board as an official presenting sponsor, but would not divulge the identities of other advertisers with whom the tour is negotiating. Abrams did confirm that gaming and telecommunications are key categories. Car and apparel are other possibilities.

"It's not about running commercials," said Abrams. "It could include wireless companies [employing] text messaging or a video-game company sharing its newest, coolest games or a technology that speaks to kids."

%%PULLQUOTE_LEFT%% Abrams said the plan is to implement "video banners" to provide the audience interesting visuals and information, which "in some cases, will bring value to our [corporate] partners."

But don't expect the second go-around of the festival to take a more overtly commercial tone. Orly Agai, who manages corporate endorsements and sponsorships at WMA, said there will be no more than a handful of partnerships. "We want to limit partnerships because the kids shouldn't be intruded. It's important that this tour be different from the other branded tours that will be out there." Both Ozzfest and the Van's Warped Tour will offer up stiff competition.

The lineup of acts will feature Farrell's band Jane's Addiction, Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age and The Donnas. The tour kicks off on July 3 in Grand Rapids, Mich. and will run through August in 30 markets.

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