AToMiC Awards: Brands join the band

Sony and P&G go beyond sponsorships to stand-out content collaborations with bands.
Sony Xperia 2

It’s no secret that youth and music go hand-in-hand, and it’s even less revealing that brands targeting a younger audience frequently tap into this likely link. For every new artist that breaks, there’s a brand capitalizing on their rise to fame with endorsement deals.

But with music being the go-to association for most youth brands, some are upping the creative ante by going beyond simple sponsorships to deeper content collaborations that stand out.

For the launch of its Xperia Ion phone last year, Sony partnered with MTV and social content studio Free Agency to create a music web series featuring artists (such as The Sheepdogs) in musical performances that turned obscure objects into instruments, all shot with the phone’s HD video camera. and a pop-up “Made of Imagination” blog housed the four branded webisodes, and also featured daily posts curated by arts blog The videos received 560,000 views, and the campaign garnered 11 million media impressions.

The campaign encouraged content creation and creativity, says Farhad Esmail, director of marketing, Sony Mobile Communications Canada, adding that it’s authentic because “the birth of the brand was all about sound and creation.”

In the same vein, P&G’s Cheer collaborated with the band Strange Talk to speak to youth. Never before had the brand targeted millennials, and to have its voice heard, Cheer needed to prove its relevance by showing a passion for colourful things – such as music and fashion.

The collaboration resulted in a music video where viewers could click on colourful objects (including hoodies, leggings and sunglasses) and have them sent free-of-charge, along with a sample of Cheer.

Taking a less-blatant approach, Cheer didn’t mention it was the behind the “Dig It! Get It!” campaign in the video, and only when a viewer clicked on an item were they sent to the brand’s Facebook page. Cheer left an impression, lifting ad awareness by 2.5% and purchase intent by 7.2%, while landing over 47,000 new fans on Facebook.

The Hardware

AToMiC Collaboration: Silver – MTV and Sony Xperia “Made of Imagination” / Bell Media
AToMiC Collaboration: Bronze – Cheer “Dig it! Get it!” / Leo Burnett