U.K. trend-spotter and researcher Ruby Pseudo recently set about asking kids what brands they felt had the tightest lock on music. In her focus groups, she gave them six minutes to name every brand involved in the music "thing" in some beneficial way.
If you live across the pond, the results probably won't surprise you, although the fact that the top three brands are heavily involved in live music should be some sort of reassurance for marketers wondering what the ROI is on sponsorship in this space. Naturally, live shows are where the most visceral experiences are formed, and, although these kinds of tie-ins have become the workaday norm for many marketers and are hardly considered innovative anymore, they still seem to be effective, at least as far as British kids are concerned.
Ruby Pseudo doesn't divulge all the details that researchers would probably demand in order to consider the results scientific, but here's the top brands she found:
65% of respondents recalled mobile operator O2's involvement with music, beating out every other brand. Contrary to the preceding sentences, the brand recently rolled out an interesting free-ticket promotion whereby customers were invited to take photos of the word "Priority" in O2's ads, and, after sending the pictures to a phone number, the image was returned but altered depending on whether the customer had won or not. As Ruby points out, O2 has taken over sponsorship of all of Carling's music venues in the U.K., which is a good indication as to the direction of the telecom giant's musical cachet in the future.
45% thought fondly of Virgin, which has a long history of festival and other music sponsorships in the U.K. and in the States. In both places, the V Festivals make the biggest splash for the brand each year.
35% cited brewer Carling, which, as mentioned above, has been pulling back from live music, most notably the giant Reading and Leeds festivals (once colloquially known as "The Carling Weekend"), which they exited last year. SFS blogger Mike Tunnicliffe speculated a while back that the beer brand has been stepping back from music because of pressure from the anti-alcohol-advertising lobby.
And the runners-up, by category:
Broadcasters: C4, BBC, M&V
Food & Drink: Carling, Innocent, Coca-Cola, Beck's, Red Bull
Fashion: Nike, Oxfam, Diesel, Adidas
Network Providers: O2, Virgin, Orange, T Mobile
Mobile Phone Brands: Sony (25%), Nokia (10%) Samsung (5%)
Also check out some of the quotes they gathered, many of which show how little skepticism cash-strapped youngsters have about big brands dominating their music experiences. We'd love to see similar research here in the states.