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Over the last few days, our discussion of Lady Gaga’s new partnership with Polaroid and one about Morgan Freeman as the new voice of CBS News, has given rise to an interesting question.

We have often thought that a music strategy that looks to the brand’s attributes to find the right musical voice is a seperate marketing idea than a simple celebrity endorsement but in cases like the above (and the Christine Aguilera/Target partnership, for instance), these two ideas have converged.

Is there a difference between Music (Sonic) Branding and Celebrity Endorsement?  Are cases where the two converge an easier sell to marketers and branding folks?

We would love to hear from a variety of marketing and branding pros what you think – please chime in.

Comments are now closed for this article
  • jim goodwin

    3:21 pm - Wed, Jan, 2010 -

    In almost all cases, music branding with celebrity artists is simply an endorsement for financial compensation. Otherwise, what does the celebrity get out of it? I’m not sure what the brand gets out of it either. Nobody really thinks Polaroid is “cool” because Lady Gaga shills for them. Brands are better off capitalizing on celebrity sightings with their product. Take Buick and Tiger for example; Tiger crashed a Cadillac because he wouldn’t be caught dead driving a Buick. I don’t know why Cadillac hasn’t jumped on it. I imagine they got so much publicity from that event for free that they don’t feel they need to throw any more money at it.
    Did Apple brand themselves with Feist, or did Feist get branded by Apple? I think the latter.
    Mitsubishi didn’t get branded by whatever band that was in their commercials years ago. That band got branded. And good for them. It was a win win. Mitsubishi looked cool, and the band got on the map.
    But I don’t even think that is branding.
    The only thing that brands a product or corporation is a jingle. It has to have a lyric.
    “Like a rock” is branding. It was what people would say if you asked “what comes to mind when you think of a Chevy truck?” Unlike “I’m loving it”, “like a rock” actually describes the product. “State farm is there” is branding. It is a melody and lyric that is identified with the brand AND identifies the brand.
    Brands should look for songs by bands that have a lyric that identifies their brand. In my model, the band is unknown, and the corporation gets the added PR hit by “bringing the music to the people.” If anyone is interested, I have a whole concept ready to go. Advertising with a mission – let me know if you’re ready.

  • trudee lunden

    12:42 pm - Mon, Jun, 2010 -

    I agree with Jim Goodman that while celebrities may find like-minded partnerships with brands, this won’t truly build a brand (sales, perhaps.) I believe memorable “Message Music” that uplifts consumers with strong emotional appeals and focuses on the product is the way to reach many hearts.

  • trudee lunden

    1:13 pm - Mon, Jun, 2010 -

    oops. Apologies to Jim Goodwin who is a good man! 🙂

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