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World By Mouth

Posted 4 Mar 2011 by Young Lee

It could be argued that the digital revolution is up there with the industrial one.

Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million listeners, TV 13 years and the internet 4 years. Facebook took 9 months to attract 100 million 'friends'.

While the social media baby was still toddling, digital campaigns were one man and his camera with a bit of dodgy music thrown on as an afterthought. But the toddler's all grown up now and brands have started to up their digital advertising budgets and their know-how about how to deal with this awkward teenager. And with it they've upped the quality of production, and accompanying music and innovation.

Music in digital campaigns is now a much more interactive element. It is this interactivity that makes a campaign memorable and shareable. Some of the more successful campaigns are ones which have thrown the rule book out of the window and pushed creative thought further than those before them.

To promote Dr Martens' 50th anniversary the brand aimed to modernise their image by creating their biggest digital marketing campaign to date. Ten 'cutting edge' bands were 'invited' to record covers of 'classic' tracks. Amongst them were The Noisettes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Raveonettes who covered tracks by the Stone Roses, Buzzcocks and the Pogues. Filmmakers and photographers such as Alice Norton and Rankin were commissioned to shoot accompanying videos. Three tracks were immediately available to download exclusively from their website. Viewers even had access to behind the scenes footage and pictures of the artists making the tracks and videos.

Grolsch was also keen to push musical creativity with its digital marketing. As part of its Xmas campaign - 'Merry Christmas' - they came up with the idea to 'remix' the Xmas carol 'Oh Xmas Tree' by Ernst Anschutz, replayed by some of the world's top musicians and sound engineers.

The clever twist was that the musicians (seven percussionists, woodwind players and a timpanist) would play entirely on instruments crafted from Grolsch swingtop bottles. The 'remixed' carol by the aptly titled 'Swingtop Philharmonic Orchestra' was then put on youtube and an exclusive website where you could email it to a friend.

Sanyo's people certainly thought so when coming up with their 'digital outreach campaign'. Once again music was a huge part of this digital campaign. 145 schools and colleges competed to create a music track which would then be voted for. The most popular giving the makers online stardom as well as winning their school £4k worth of Sanyo music equipment.

Each school entry received £300 worth of Sanyo sound recording equipment which the kids could use to upload their effort. They created a dedicated website (www.xacti-fm) where each music creation was rated by their peers. Over a 2 month period over 10,000 people voted.

Many brands have decided that the time is right for them to invest heavily in digital marketing, using music to promote their brand or product in exciting ways that have never been seen before. This will enable them to continue communicating with brand loyalists plus engage with younger consumers who now expect more than a logo or piece of music on top of a visual.

Perhaps we are just at the beginning and digital campaigns are merely in a transitional period. As the internet grows this new type of musical creativity might just take us to some amazing places.

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