We May Be Biased, But We’d Say… Of The New Millennium!

In 2008, the worlds of music and branding aligned in a unique and resounding way. This resulted in several noteworthy initiatives, partnerships, ventures, etcetera, as well as some incredibly cool track usages for broadcast TV and Web advertisements.

Sadly for some music industry hopefuls, the branding equation wasn’t the savior they had sought. But as the music industry continues to evolve into a digital- and media-led business, branding remains a vital way for those who create and produce the music to monetize it.

Here are my top 5 list of newsworthy branded-music initiatives and top 5 track choices for 2008:

1. TAG Records. In April, Procter & Gamble partnered with the record label Island Def Jam Music Group to launch a recording imprint tied to its TAG men’s deodorant and body spray. Jermaine Dupri, the Atlanta-based rapper and music producer, was named president. Brand-alliance guru David Caruso of Acme Branded Content brokered the deal. Hopefully, his music will meet his and (even) consumer expectations. Red Bull, Mountain Dew, Levi’s and others are beginning to take on the role of nouveaux-record labels.

Read the full article here.

First of all… THANKS to AdWeek for thinking of TAG Records. The project is incredibly special to us at ACME so we love seeing the TAG movement receive recognition.

To see if the music meets consumer’s expectations, wait until the new year for the big noise, check Q’s myspace now, or google’em.

The Denver Nuggets really like him. They made his song their official song for the season and play it during player introductions:

Launch of the I AM KING Website.

What a fantastic project!   It was a bit of a whirlwind, but we made some new friends and are looking forward to the future!

Visit the site!

Sean John – I AM KING

One of our latest projects… but we are too busy at the moment to elaborate.  So, more to come!

Lauren Conrad + mark x MTV

Lauren in ‘The Club’

Lauren in ‘The Date’

ACME on NPR, TAG at Rucker Park and more!

We have tons of interesting updates covering what has been a whirlwind of activity over the last few weeks.

Some beautiful mark spots have been all over mtv for the last two weeks as part of an integration with The Hills.  We will post the videos up here as soon as we get our hands on them.  Check out the video player at thehills.mtv.com and the Lauren Look Book located on SeenOnMTV.com.   We will provide more insight into this program soon.

David and Adam Weber are featured in this NPR story on the merging of music and brand marketing.   I love how they used audio from YouTube videos as sound bytes.  Very clever and very effective.  They even threw in some classic Q music that they must have lifted from Myspace.    Listen to the story here.

TAG @ Rucker Park

TAG kicked off the Survival of the Freshest tour at Rucker Park on August 14th.   The true survivors stuck it out through the rain and the evening wrapped with a killer mc competition (see video below).   Jermaine Dupri, Q, Russell Simmons, DJ Envy, Michael Bivins and others all turned out for the event.  Congrats to both Sandman and Cash Flow for doing their thing in front of a tough Harlem crowd.

American Brandstand: TAG & ACME Featured in New York Times

This is actually the third NY Times piece that has covered TAG Records – which must be a sign that we are on to something to special. This particular article happens to highlight the fact that TAG is just one of a number of brands that are currently jumping into the music space in interesting ways. All of these programs (Bacardi, Red Bull, TAG, and Converse) are getting major buzz upon announcement, but the real test will be how any of them move the sales needle. Now we all watch, unless you are actually part of one of the campaigns – and the work is really just beginning!

Indeed, brands are getting deeper and deeper into the music business, but they are not exactly forcing themselves in. Savvy labels and artists are embracing the right types of branded programs, and if you were around 5-10 years ago, it simply wasn’t the case.

“When I started in this business 10 years ago, it was hard to get an artist to stand in front of a sign with a logo on it,” said David Caruso, the co-founder of Acme, the agency that negotiated the deal between Island Def Jam and Tag.

Now artists are actually calling brands. Seems crazy, but I like to think they are getting smart 🙂

Read the entire article here.

TAG Records Launch Party – A Huge Success!

Lots of heavy hitting members of THE hip-hop elite came out to help celebrate the launch of TAG Records! Everyone from Nelly and Slim Thug to Nas and Bill Maher hit the party at the soon-to-open  Kress. Blog coverage has been huge, but here are a couple of videos and some pictures that help document the scene:

and from Rap-Up:

Pics from Wire Image here and here.

TAG Body Spray: Pre-Makeover with Fall Out Boy

Prior to the current re-stage of the TAG brand, TAG hooked up with Fall Out Boy for the release of the video for the mega-hit ‘Thnks fr th Mmrs’. With a quick pre- and post-roll mention and a great product integration, the video currently has well over 32 MILLION views on YouTube – which has to be one of the most viewed music videos on the site… and it was sponsored by TAG. Crazy!

Universal strangely doesn’t allow their videos to be embedded outside of YouTube, which makes the feat even more impressive.

See the video here.

ACME in Sweden with Hastens

We just returned from Sweden where we met with the team at Hastens, spent time visiting stores, meeting store owners and managers, and even seeing the competition. Aside from being some of the most friendly people I have ever met, Swedish people definitely understand the value of a good night’s sleep. They take sleep and their beds very seriously – which may explain why everyone is so nice!

Absorbing the brand on its home turf only further reinforced our excitement at working with a brand so dedicated to quality and heritage. More to come from Hastens and ACME in the near future.

Research:

Living the Life, with Jermaine Dupri (David Caruso Cameo)

I love the current trend of artist talking to fans via YouTube – gritty, iMovie produced YouTube videos. Jermaine Dupri was certainly an early adopter of this new practice and has developed a steady fanbase of regular viewers. His YouTube channel certainly garners enough attention on its own, but throw in a Jay-Z or Mariah or Janet and of course the views grow exponentially. He has even used fans response via YouTube to help steer decisions around new artists, and as expected, to show off some gear.

As President of TAG Records, it is safe to assume we will see some TAG references throughout his Living the Life series. Here is JD at the recent photo shoot for TAG. Note the ACME cameo as well 🙂