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Brands get musical

business Updated: Jun 20, 2007 02:59 IST
Ritu Tripathi
Ritu Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

What’s with marketers using music as a tool to push a range of products ranging from mobile phones to liquor, to cigarettes, to banks, to airlines, to even motorbikes? Latino singing sensation Shakira was recently brought to India for her live performance, ‘Oral Fixation’, by Nokia, in association with Reliance Mobile, VH1, Royal Challenge, HSBC, Indiatimes.com, TicketPro, Fever FM, Lufthansa and Planet M. The concert gave the sponsoring companies high voltage visibility amongst their target customers—the youth.

As a marketing tool, music is being used either in the form of events or as a driving feature in products. Major mobile phone brands have created an exclusive category of music-enabled phones. Priced anywhere between Rs 1,888 (Reliance Classic 261) to Rs 20,999 (Nokia N90), these mobile phones deliver reasonable to high quality audio and video music.

Sony Ericsson’s Walkman series music phones—W200i, W880i and W610i—claim to be the best in mobile phone music. Sudhin Mathur, GM, Sony Ericsson India, says, “A key focus area of Sony Ericsson is music. The objective of the ‘Thump is here’ campaign was to establish Sony Ericsson W200i Walkman phone as ‘The music phone to own’ amongst the Indian youth. We wanted to communicate the loud, thumping music from the bass reflex headphones and appropriate it for the model by creating a genre of music—Thump music. Hrithik Roshan was the best fit to portray the raw energy and resonating sound of the music.”

Nokia’s latest N-Series ad campaign beckons to higher-end buyers who have an ear for music. The ad states: “Discover hi-fi quality and the refined sound of the world’s legends in music as if they were there. Now, carry your favourite music with you. Always. Play it. Hear it. Groove it.”

Motorola recently launched Motorokr. Lloyd Mathias, director marketing, Motorola Mobile Devices, states, “The idea is to convey to young mobile phone users focused on work and entertainment at the same time, that this model is the best for them. In the 60-second TVC, Abhishek Bachchan can’t get his dialogues right as he has got music stuck in his mind.”

For liquor brands, music has been a strong communication route, since liquor advertising is a no-no. Bacardi Blast has been around and recently, Bacardi B-Live, a global programme, showcased across Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata dynamic forms of music and dance by renowned Australian group Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs. Jayant Kapur, president & CEO, Bacardi Martini India Ltd. comments, “The free spirited Tap Dogs, known for their raw energy, improvisation and spontaneity, was the perfect catalyst to deliver another premium, memorable Bacardi B-Live extravaganza.”

Seagram has been sponsoring musicians and releasing CDs. And ITC has just wedded music to tobacco, repackaging its Classic brand in limited edition versions of Classic Rock, Jazz and Blues, for connoisseurs.

Yamaha, the motorcycle company, has initiated the Yamaha Roxx as a worldwide initiative to find appeal with GenX. Says Sanjay Tripathi, general manager, Yamaha Motor India, “Yamaha Roxx is an exciting, trendy, music-based rocktainment through concerts and events directed towards our target customers (18-24 years) who are surely the trendsetters with attitude and whom we call Bad Boys. Through Yamaha Roxx, we will offer more than just gigs, focusing on different forms of entertainment. Though we manufacture and sell motorcycles, our mission is to promote a certain lifestyle for the GenX.

“Historically, we started out as a music company and motorcycling and music gel well. Also, the popularity of rock music in India is on an all time high and goes with our brand image.” The gigs are organised widely across pubs and feature Indian rock bands such as Themclones, Parikrama, Mother Jane, Pindrop Violence and Perestroika, among others. “We will continue to organise Yamaha Roxx in metros and mini-metros as often as possible.”

As brand visibility and interaction gain imperative, especially with youth as a key target audience, music, as a marketing tool, will see more innovative and widespread attention from marketers.