Faithless And Fiat Set The Creative Standard For Band-Brand Partnerships

I’ve just got back from 2 weeks of holiday during which time quite a lot happened in the digital music space. One thing that really caught my eye was UK dance act Faithless’ partnership with Italian car company Fiat for their single ‘Feelin’ Good’.  Brands (Converse, Bacardi, etc.) commissioning artists to record tracks for ad campaigns is a growing trend, but what Faithless have done here is different. No money actually changed hands, and no Fiat slogans or messaging appear on the video. So how does it work? Fiat paid for the video and in return had a Fiat Punto featured in the video. The car actually gets pretty prominent positioning (including extended dashboard footage), but Fiat’s creative agency have worked hard to ensure that it has been done in a creative and non-intrusive manner. (Well, maybe not quite that non-intrusive, but the intent is there and it’s leagues above much other product placement.)

The three-minute video will air across an entire ad break during the reality TV show ‘Big Brother’ to an audience of c 1.5m. 

This is a best-practice example of brands and bands exploring new ways to work together, delivering clear benefits both to Faitheless and to Fiat, and meets many of the criteria set out in our report ‘Music Strategy For Brands’ which clients can read here.

Faithless are no strangers to experimenting with brand partnerships and new revenue models. Their combination of mainstream audience reach and still relatively cool edge make them a perfect partner for big brands. And this partnership represents another step in Faithless’ current move to establish a post-record label existence. After leaving BMG, they self-released their latest album ‘The Dance’ and controversially struck exclusive retail deals with iTunes and supermarket Tesco in the UK.

I’ve written before about how non-label partners will increasingly become a career option for artists in the latter stages of their careers, but not at the start of their careers.  Brands cannot be expected to develop the expertise nor financial stomach for investing in discovering and developing content. But at the same time, they must focus on understanding artist-fan relationships and the creative needs of artists, in short to develop music product expertise. Which is exactly what Fiat have done here. If that path isn’t followed, brands risk simply becoming a retirement plan for fading artists.

Comments

Interesting -- didn't know

Interesting -- didn't know Faithless hadn't been paid (http://brandingrocknroll.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/fiat-x-faithless). Curious to see whether the initiative will sell records if the single isn't part of the classic "plot" (radio, MTV, reviews etc). Maybe it doesn't even matter...

Graham, I doubt that selling

Graham, I doubt that selling singles is going to be a success metric for this initiative. Shifting a few more copies of the album and getting bums on seats at gigs are more likely aims I think.
Mark

I have to agree with Mark,

I have to agree with Mark, but I still think it could be something a little more than 'bums on seats' too. Faithless don't need money anymore for themselves, they need to just keep saying to their audience 'We are still here'. By not having a label, they needed someone to pay for the video relase and thought creatively on how to do so. They needed the exposure after not having a financial giant to thrust them into the world, and not only will the 3 minute slot during Big Brother do that, but people like us blogging on sites about the said collaboration, will be even more succesful. They have created something that has encaptured two very large industries attention and will be talked about for a while to come.