Likely or Unlikely Pairings – Breakthrough and Benefits

Jul 12, 2020

“ Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Hellen Keller

We’ve all seen the surge of “togetherness” messaging in the last few months. This advertising strategy is possibly an ideal approach to show that brands relate to consumers through emotional alignment. It asserts a need for consumers to rally around each other, and positions the brand as an enabler or conduit for emotional unity. Considering notable advertising fatigue consumers exhibited pre-C19, and while the “we’re all in it together” story line is a thoughtful strategy, it may be a bit overplayed at this point, ala the big-hearted brand supporting humanity with we hear you, we feel it with you, we’re here for you approach.

What we haven’t seen—at least not yet—are different industries stepping over and uniting with each other and effectively delivering a times-related message.  And, if we saw this, would it not be attention grabbing and breakthrough as compared to the one brand, one message modus operandi?

As it stands now, some industries, such as big-tech, home fitness and food delivery are thriving, while others, like events and experiences, apparel and auto maintenance are not.

Among the many industries that are hurting, let’s consider a universally beloved one that’s ready to wave the white flag: the music entertainment industry. Once the dominoes started falling in early March, music artists who were on the road quickly hit an offramp, while those gearing up for the busy summer touring season either had their concerts postponed until 2021 or outright cancelled. Some have their fingers crossed that concert venues will be open—and mostly social-distancing free—when autumn rolls around, but there’s still speculation about throngs of live-music fans being willing to flock into them. Worse, it’s been reported some 90% of independent music venues will close permanently because of COVID-19 meaning, once music artists are ready to get back on the road, the venue options will be an issue.

Around the turn of the millennium, most music artists stopped earning the majority of their income by selling records, as MP3s and the advent of music streaming popularized yielding recording artists a significantly smaller percentage of revenue. Now, most music artists prosperity is derived from grueling touring schedules, revenue attained from ticket sales, and merchandise sales. Take away touring, and the income dynamics drastically change.  Somewhat like championship boxing matches, pay-to-watch live online concerts are beginning to emerge.  Let’s see how popular they become and if they can be the new or even stop-gap solution for live in-person concerts.

Let’s consider that even if more venues than expected weather this storm, in theory, the demand for venues could be quite escalated resulting from artists who have been forced to cancel or postpone. And without trying to be too dour here, consider that consumers discretionary dollars for things like concert tickets—even without a cratered economy and high unemployment rate—compound the live concert comeback concerns.

Herein lies an opportunity for brands to, at the very least, consider aligning with vulnerable entities, such as music artists or music venues. Consider the alt-rock band PVRIS, for example, the Massachusetts trio who has a new album coming in July, which they may or may not be able to support with a tour anytime soon. What they do have, however, is 374,000 followers on Instagram —that’s 100,000 more than Hershey has (and we’re certain you’ve heard of them).  Imagine that for the price of a really good publicist and music-video director, Hershey could hugely benefit from a co-promote effort.  Now, Hershey and PVRIS may not actually be a good connection, but who’s to say not? With a little progressive and creative thinking Hershey’s could receive a giant endorsement from PVRIS, along with access to their primarily Gen Z and Millennials fanbase. And should PVRIS’s publicity or the music video connect with more fans, that Instagram base could swell, whereas Hershey may not have that potential with a solo effort.

That’s just one example of how likely or unlikely pairings of brands may benefit from looking across the landscape of opportunities to support each other in a new and different approach that could result in more music to more ears.

~ Marketing Workshop