Mediaedge:cia Creates Fully Integrated Branded-Content Program

Agency Puts 'Band in a Bubble' for TV, Online and In-store Effort

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NEW YORK -- What do you get when you mix Dr Pepper, pop-rockers Cartel and a big bubble? An innovative, fully integrated marketing strategy.
Cartel will be recording its second album while living in a bubble 24/7 in an event created by Mediaedge:cia for client Dr Pepper.

With "Dr Pepper Band in a Bubble," fans of both music and Dr Pepper will be able to experience the first 24-hour live look at the process of making an album. From May 24 to June 12, Cartel will be sealed inside a huge transparent bubble in Hudson River Park's Pier 54 in New York, where the band will be recording its sophomore album.

The event was produced by WPP Group media agency Mediaedge:cia and True Entertainment, part of Endemol. The agency approached its client, Cadbury-Schweppes' Dr Pepper, last year with the idea.

'Unique and different'
"[Mediaedge:cia] knew where our consumer was and what was important to us as a brand. We felt it was a unique and different way to engage our consumers in the brand," said Allison Methvin, brand manager for Dr Pepper.

When it announced the project, Mediaedge:cia said it is the first time a communications agency has produced a "complete, integrated, multiplatform communications strategy" that covers online, event planning, radio, TV, in-store and product labeling.

MTV will cover the event with four 30-minute specials that will start airing May 24 at 11 p.m. Consumers will be able to see footage of the band's recording process via webcams that will stream live on during the 20-day period and three additional days worth of bloopers and special wrap-ups. Another partner on the project, KFC, this week started offering special codes on in-store point-of-sale materials and large takeout food bags with coupons attached that unlock exclusive "Band in a Bubble" content.

Bringing consumers an event
"Because the program is so unique, our hypothesis is by bringing the consumer a program, instead of the commercial, they might love the brand for it," said Karl Hartman, Mediaedge:cia's managing director for the Cadbury-Schweppes account.

Dr Pepper was so enthused with the idea that it decided to devote much of its marketing budget to the project. With so much at stake, the marketer worked closely with its agency to develop the project, from designing and constructing the bubble to choosing the band.

"The thing we most hope for is that Dr Pepper will be part of a cultural phenomenon. [Consumers] will be interested in what's in the bubble and then [in] Dr Pepper. ... Ultimately, we'd really want to drive sales as they get more access, we can drive product sales this summer," Ms. Methvin said.

The agency will monitor the progress and success of "Band in a Bubble" through sales and consumer engagement -- aka buzz. Regarding the latter, Mr. Hartman said the agency will watch the numbers and also see who is talking about the event.

Measuring buzz
"Are they e-mailing each other about it? Are they e-mailing the band? Are they blogging? Pretty much how much froth is being churned based on the band in the bubble," Mr. Hartman said.

The agency also will monitor the event's website for the number of hits it gets per day, and those numbers will be tallied through buzz metrics.

"It's hard when you do these never-been-done-before things. We're watching it. We really believe in it. All our sales organizations rallied behind it all the way, and we hope that the consumer will do the same," Ms. Methvin said.
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