Taco Bell Probably Threw Away $250,000 – How Brands Waste Marketing Dollars On Music

Brands using a recognizable piece of music in an ad is no longer big news, cool, or revolutionary to the music industry.

We’ve been hearing for years about how the next hit single could be due to a brand’s inclusion of the song in a TV spot. How such-and-such band really broke based on a commercial they were in.

While some bands have definitely gotten some great success by being in an ad, I’m here to ask a different question – what are the brands getting?

Using music as a tool to engage a certain demographic is a great idea for sure. But how does this actually work?

Is the value implied? Do we assume that because a licensed song costs a lot of money it’s doing what we want it to – reach a certain key market?

I’m curious to know if this is ever measured.

Strangely, I saw this article highlighting “social takeaways” of brands that advertised during the Super Bowl.

It cites a bunch of stats that don’t mean much to me (22x social mentions – but 22 times what?). But then I saw this:

“Coca-Cola received the most mentions of any advertiser/sponsor on social with 169,013 total mentions.”

What?! How much did Coca-Cola spend on advertising for the Super Bowl? Was it really work 169,013 social media mentions? Even if every one of those people bought a Coke for a dollar – what FRACTION of their ad spend would that amount to?

Can the NEW music industry help move past these lame-o stats? I think we really need to reach beyond just a transactional licensing relationship.

In my experience, artists that agree to have their music licensed in the first place are more than happy to get involved with the brand on more than just a transactional level.

It seems that brands are walking away from something that could provide an amazing list of opportunity to provide real value to fans, which would in turn reveal critical marketing metrics and provide target demographic information.

What about integrating a concert ticket give away? Music downloads? Artist merchandise?

These are just a few things music integration can provide to fans that brands can leverage to learn more about their target demographic.

It seems like a win-win.

Are brands walking away too early from the conversation? Are their agencies perhaps overlooking this critical integration?

Some do a great job – like Harley Davidson did with their Project Rushmore – which included merchandise, in-store appearances, and videos featuring the band.

Harley can then actually evaluate how well this resonates with their market based on people showing up to HD stores, buying merchandise online, and clicking videos on the site.

With all the noise surrounding people on a daily basis it would be refreshing to see more brands truly own something, rather than just pay to borrow it’s fame for 30 seconds.