4 Secrets to Creating a Successful Music-Based Ad Campaign

Eric Suliga, Creative Director

Picture this. It’s a beautiful day and you’re hanging with great friends, listening to incredible music. There’s just enough shade in your backyard to make it the perfect temperature to be outside, which means it’s also the perfect occasion to fire up the barbecue with your favorite grub. Oh! And the cooler is filled to the brim with ice-cold libations, waiting for you to pop that top and drink it.

We imagine you’re feeling those good summer vibes right about now. No matter if you pictured your backyard BBQ with the latest country hits or timeless rock & roll classics, music was likely an essential part of your fantasy. That’s the power of combining experiences with music.

More and more, marketers are choosing to create experiences for their customers rather than traditional ad campaigns. This is because experiences have been found to make a bigger impression on us--and when it’s paid with a brand message, this can usually lead to increased memory and intent to purchase. Music is a powerful tool brands can use to conjure up emotion and create a lasting experience. Let us give you an example…

Kingsford Crafts a Music Experience to Engage BBQers

As the maker of America’s favorite charcoal briquette, Kingsford partnered with Pandora to bring the barbeque experience to life through music for thousands of existing and potential customers of their Easy Light Bag, the #1 on-the-go grilling necessity. Thus, the Pandora BBQ Beats station was born to embody all things grilling and sizzling. So, what did this station offer that made it so special?

Pandora enlisted two artists, the Eli Young Band and JohnnySwim to bring the station and the product to life. Kingsford leveraged targeted audio and visual placements to capture their target grillers’ attention, giving them a preview of the rich content in-station. This custom station showcased exclusive artist interviews, Pandora-captured live performances, and live on-demand audio tracks--all fueled by the theme of barbecue. Whether the sounds of grilling crackled in the background or the videos featured delicious food sizzling on the grill, the Easy Light Bag perpetuated throughout every station element.

Kingsford’s BBQ Beats Station Drives Engagement

Having launched at the start of the grilling season, the Kingsford’s BBQ Beats station succeeded in reaching more than 238,000 Pandora listeners--95% of which represented Kingsford’s target male audience. CTR to Kingsfords landing page outperformed Pandora’s benchmarks over 3.5x, demonstrating relevancy achieved in station, as users were interested to learn more about the Kingsford products.

According to research from Millward Brown Digital, station performance also impacted traditionally hard-to-move metrics, including a 64% lift in Brand Favorability and a 56% lift in Purchase Intent for the Kingsford Easy Light Bag.

Creating an effective station experience is no easy task. Inspired by Kingsford’s success, here’s 4 best practices for integrating a music experience into your next campaign:

  • Tailor the Content to the Audience A branded station strategy is only effective if the right audience experiences the content. The target audience’s preferences and interests should inform the content strategy, which in turn informs the targeting strategy to ensure your brand doesn’t waste precious ad dollars on an extraneous audience.
  • Use Music to Elevate Your Brand A successful music and brand partnership must align contextually. The featured music genre must pertain to the context of the campaign in order to create a greater level of resonance with the listener. Identify which genre brings your brand personality and values to life most. Country music + Kingsford’s BBQ Product = a perfect match (pun intended)
  • Employ Complementary Elements The brand content must complement the music content. Avoid one outshining the other by identifying how they can live in the same space and play off each other in a subtle yet effective co-branded integration. For example, Kingsford’s video content contained organic grilling elements with subtle branded integration, working together both in and out of the station experience.
  • Consider All Listener Types At Pandora, we know that some listeners are nearly always leaned-in and engaged, while other enjoy a more passive listening experience. To make sure your experience caters to both types of users, include a diverse range of custom station elements from video to a mixtape soundtrack.

Create an Experience for Your Consumers; Reap the Benefits

All truly exceptional advertising campaigns cater to both advertiser and consumer needs in perfect harmony. This is exactly why, at Pandora, we say our mantra is: “what is good for the listener, is good for the advertiser.”

Chris Neel, Group Manager of Media for the Kingsford/Clorox Company said of the campaign: “Creating content is easy, creating meaningful content and putting it in front of the right audience is not. Pandora’s solution not only embodied our product, but brought it to life in a way that made sense for our brand. Easy Light branding was fluid within the custom station execution, and thus their brand messaging never left the forefront of the user experience... contributing to its impressive results and engagement metrics.”

By creating a dynamic, music-fueled grilling experience, Kingsford formed meaningful connections with their target consumers. With an average engagement rate of 7%, listeners proved their interest by continuing to return to the station, explore its various elements and enjoy the music long after its initial launch.

Music has always served as a universal language between people. Now, more and more brands are seeing the benefit of utilizing music as a connector, and a means to achieve brand goals. To learn more about Kingsford’s campaign, check out this video:

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