How Brands Use Music Festivals to Rock Content Marketing
Industry Leaders

How Blue Moon and AmEx Rock Content Marketing

by NewsCred

As music festivals have danced their way from small hippie gatherings to mainstream mosh pits, brands are using music to connect with fans in a way that goes way beyond creating commercial jingles or getting a pop star to endorse a product. In fact, if you take a look at music festivals or concert series near you, there’s a good chance that it might be powered by a brand.

One such endeavor is Blue Moon Brewing Company’s Follow The Moon Tour, which through a partnership with Spotify, is a five-city music tour featuring live music by emerging artists, art installations, food catered by local chefs, and appearances from Blue Moon brewmasters.

We caught up with Jovina Young, Brand Manager of Blue Moon Brewing Company, to find out how music events can help marketers rock brand awareness and fan engagement.

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The Backstory

Besides the fact that everyone knows music and beer go together hand-in-hand, says Young, the goal was to create some really cool and memorable experiences for fans. “Spotify is an incredible music source with a similar commitment to building fan experiences. We also know that drinking a Blue Moon on key dates throughout the lunar calendar is a cool tie that our Facebook fans have always gotten a kick out of, and we wanted to bring an ‘Artfully Crafted’ experience to life on the road,” she explains. Each of those factors served as a piece of the puzzle for a unique five-city tour, which began in Phoenix on May 15, and will culminate in Denver on August 8.

A Swig of Brand Messaging

Just as Blue Moon touts its “artfully crafted” mantra with regard to its beverages, Young thought it would be fun to apply that idea to shine a spotlight on artists of all forms. “These concerts are actually mini-festivals, in a sense, and a true celebration of culinary art, local art, music, and great beer,” explains Young. In other words, it goes beyond just putting up a few sponsorship banners. The natural beer drinking occasion helps drive a deeper connection between a live event and our product, Young added.

Getting the Word Out

As part of their strategy to help extend reach and awareness for each Follow the Moon event, the team decided to tap into (no pun intended) its Blue Moon influencer market and give them the opportunity to be Blue Moon advocates on the brand’s behalf. “Leveraging our advocates allows us to amplify authentic, user-generated content that can extend the event beyond its physical location,” explains Young. It also helps achieve earned media goals, gain traction with a targeted group of people, and ignite social conversations around Blue Moon Brewing Company.

“With events like this, we recognize that it’s not just about getting people in the door, it’s about celebrating the experience and sharing it with friends or followers before, during and after,” says Young.

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Courtesy of winner @JamiePie‘s Instagram

Digital content that fans can enjoy on the festival site includes event photos, streaming music from the Follow The Moon Spotify playlist, as well as a contest to win a trip to Denver for the “Supermoon” event as a Blue Moon ambassador.

With the tour just underway, Young says that the reaction has been positive, and so far, every show has sold out.

As for social engagement, Young has been pleased with the growth that’s she’s seen, and there’s more than half the tour still to come. Some quick numbers:

  • Twitter follower increase since May 1: 46.72% 
  • Facebook like increase: 6.17%
  • Total number of RTs from other brands: 10

“We have also seen a spike in engagement around our Influencer contest content,” says Young, with entries ranging from status posts, to photographs, to videos. Young says the hope is that fans think of Blue Moon when they’re enjoying music throughout the summer.

“Music is integral to what Blue Moon is as a brand, so it will be great to see how these unique and intimate events impact our fan base,” she says.

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More Brand Music Festivals Kicking Off Summer

A Digital Concert to Make American Express Fans “Happy”

American Express recently held its 14th Unstaged concert — which pairs a musical artist and a director — with a performance by Pharrell at New York City’s Apollo theater. Director Spike Lee produced the exclusive online airing of the event for fans. To build excitement for the digital event, users were encouraged to use the hashtag #AmexUNSTAGED, or retweet the @americanexpress feed to unlock a signed digital photo of Pharrell, and upload photos of themselves that could appear in the live concert stream. The microsite on YouTube offers performance clips and other related content.

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According to BullDog DM, the concert series has received 100 million content views since its first show in August 2010.

A Month-Long High Energy Musical Event

Red Bull has a music festival in a different city each year, but starting this year, the Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York will become an annual event in New York City. The inaugural event took place this past May, and featured a street party celebrating the legacy of Larry Levan, a public talk with the R&B star D’Angelo, and about a dozen other events. Innovative marketing and musical collaborations are nothing new for the energy drink company, which is why it’s no surprise that the event was well attended. Says AdWeek: “Red Bull’s musical reach is big enough that it can be considered an industry heavyweight. It has its own music label, Red Bull Records, that works with independent up-and-coming artists like Awolnation and Twin Atlantic on opportunities to partner with other brands and help sync a Red Bull Records track with an ad campaign.”

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Rockin’ Sustainability  

What does healthy, organic food have to do with music? For sweetgreen — founder of the annual sweetlife Festival — the fit couldn’t be more natural.  Sweetlife has grown from 500 people in a sweetgreen’s parking lot in 2010, to a big event at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland featuring live performances on three stages. This year’s artists included Lana Del Ray and Foster the People, among others.

Known for its use of local and organic ingredients from farmers, the brand is all about spreading its message of sustainability by serving delicious food at the event. Even better, all proceeds of the festival go toward the sweetgreen in schools program. Check out the post-concert thank you video:

As these brands have proven, music is an effective way to connect with fans, even if your brand seemingly has nothing to do with music (like serving salads). How can your brand utilize a cultural connector like music, food, or dance to create an amazing brand experience for your audience?


By Dawn Papandrea, NewsCred Contributor