As interruption-based advertising loses its efficiency, marketing innovation has re-focused onto marketing partnerships. An excellent example is the Bacardi sponsorship of Groove Armada, which has been discussed in the Wall Street Journal (U.K. DJs Aim to Lift Some Spirits, 2008-Jun-27, by Max Colchester) and UK-based Marketing Week (Why bands need brands, 2008-Apr-16, by Camille Alarcon)
The sponsorship of music, especially festivals, by alcohol brands is nothing new, but the Bacardi contract contains many new ideas that help extend the benefits and limit the risk to both sides. Brands that traditionally sponsor festivals have become "wallpaper" according to some, and innovation is brewing as brands try to take over the faltering role of record labels.
Clearly, some musicians and marketers share a natural audience, and if they can help each other build up the total audience, the relationship does not have to go on forever (like a marriage). Musicians are finding that marketers, unlike record labels, don't want to own music. Bacardi is paying to produce and market a new EP for Groove Armada, but Groove Armada retains ownership of the music, promising to license some of it to Bacardi for background music in commercials. The initial contract was for one-year only but contains many elements being tested out, including concerts, TV commercials, syndicated radio broadcasts, and a TV documentary. This way Bacardi and Groove Armada can start out a new year with a fresh perspective on what worked for both of them. Ingenious! Tip of the hat to Sara Tinsely of Bacardi and Natasha Kizzie of Euro RSCG KLP for developing this unique partnership.