Why Marketers Are Turning to Data to Pick the Right Songs, Artists

Music Choice Isn't Just a Matter of the Heart

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Attaching music to brands isn't just about gut artistic instinct or which bands the creative director's teenage kid is digging. Like nearly every other aspect of marketing, data has become integral to choosing the right tunes and measuring the success of musical tie-ins for brands including Ford Fiesta, Pop-Tarts and Tropicana Farmstand.

Numbers are in and consumers like Tropicana's music selection.
Numbers are in and consumers like Tropicana's music selection.

Ford tapped concert-ticket powerhouse Live Nation for its music-centric Fiesta campaign. The concert promoter, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, uses purchase data to help marketers determine what types of music their target audiences enjoy.

Ford's target: "older millennials," around 30, said Crystal Worthem, Ford's brand content and alliances marketing manager. According to the data, that group overindexes on ticket buying through Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Analyzing data on the shows those people attended, the company recommended a list of artists for Ford to use.

The automaker is incorporating five bands, including folk/rock group the Lumineers and hip-hop artist Kid Cudi, into an elaborate online reality-show campaign, "The Rider." Ford also has a presence at the bands' concerts. The automaker is looking at digital metrics as well as measuring leads that come in at concerts and other events to gauge the campaign's success.

Live Nation combined ticket-sales data with social data and information from digital-music-measurement firm Big Champagne to find artists to pair with Pop-Tarts for its "Crazy Good Summer" campaign this year, which used free concerts to promote new flavors. One matchup included pop singer Demi Lovato.

"It gives you confidence that you're taking the personal opinion out [of it] … and basically building a case for that artist for that particular program," said Russell Wallach, president of Live Nation Network, which has 120 million ticket purchasers in its database. He noted the company only uses the data to serve its ad clients.
It's not the only one. Columbia Records is using data to back claims that advertisers should think about the musical elements of TV spots earlier in the creative process, said Elliot Lum, VP-strategic marketing. The company uses survey research to show emotional response to ads, measuring viewer involvement, enjoyment and brand recall.

For the launch of Tropicana Farmstand, the label evaluated the effect of Passion Pit's "Carried Away," a whimsical dance number used in a spot featuring a grocery-store clerk grooving as he stocks jars of Farmstand.

"One in four people spontaneously mentioned the music as something they liked" about the ad, said Ann Green, senior partner-corporate innovation and solutions at Millward Brown, which conducted the survey.

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