Assia Benmedjdoub delves into the value of music collaborations.
For Sportsgirl marketing manager Kate Rees, local artist Nicole Millar represents music to her ears.
It’s not just her sound that resonates – but the connection she holds with the retailer’s millenial demographic.
“Our collaboration with Nicole Millar for our ‘Get Dressed’ campaign was really successful, and one we feel excited to talk about to this day,” Rees explains. “Music is something our customers are really interested in and engaged with.”
Launched in store and online, the campaign featured a video of Millar dancing to a re-worked version of her hit track ‘Signals’.
This was leveraged with a range of dresses priced from $49.95.
“We see a huge spike in dress sales,” Rees recalls. “Some 60% of our top 20 styles for the month were dresses and our number one Instagram post, with the largest reach for the month, was a campaign image of Nicole wearing a dress that sold out.”
This was to be replicated in a campaign featuring Ali Barter, with 12 out of 15 featured pieces making the top seller list. Sportsgirl, which is licensed to play music in its stores, is part of a growing league of brands collaborating with recording artists.
According to a survey of 50 high-profile artist managers, fashion partnerships offer the greatest frequency in transactions.
Conducted by brand experience agency Frukt, it found a majority had worked with brands in fashion (58%) surpassing other categories such as alcohol (55%) and technology (45%).
Interestingly, 98% highlighted a credible artist fit with the brand as one of the most important factors influencing their decision to enter a deal. Equally for musicians, 68% of artist managers cited brand partnerships as adding value to an artist’s career.
This is particularly relevant for footwear retailer Platypus, which lanuched its Discovery Series last year. The initiative unearths local talent and provides winners with professional mentors.
In its maiden year, the campaign saw 2,000 entries submitted from across Australia, with 40% stemming from musicians. This year, it has partnered with local artists Broods, Vanessa Marian and Beastman to find the next generation of undiscovered talent.
Platypus head of retail marketing Tia Paterson says while the venture isn’t monetised, it does foster consumer engagement.
“Within the initial two weeks of the Discovery Series campaign, we saw a great uptake of social traffic to the site, resulting in social as one of the top five channel drivers.
“Throughout the lifetime of the Discover Series campaign, we also shared shortlisted entries on Platypus’ Instagram stories to highlight the incredible entries, with each receiving positive and encouraging comments.
“Social listening across the course of the campaign through the dedicated hashtag #PlatypusDiscoverSeries displayed positive sentiment within the Platypus audience.”
Content shareability has worked outside the venture too, Paterson adds. Earlier this year, Platypus partnered with media platform Pedestrian TV on a podcast which interviewed leaders across music, art and street culture.
“Our ‘Sneak Up’ podcast received 100,000 end to end listens and five star ratings,” she reveals. “Investing in campaigns which foster creativity is imporant to the Platypus brand.”
That’s not to say music collaborations can’t have a direct commercial return. For designer brand Alice McCall, regular endorsements by star Beyonce have had a significant impact on the business.
“When she stepped out in our Senorita dress from resort 2017, website traffic increased by 80% and 25% of sales that day were from this style alone,” McCall says. “I think it’s pivotal to sales to have key, select celebrities endorse the brand and product.
“We do very strategic gifting in line with our product dropping calendar – brand new, hot off the runway new season pieces are worn by celebrities and are then readily available to our customers.”
At Levi’s Australia, collaborations with the music industry have contributed to a doubling in domestic revenue over the last six years. Marketer Nicky Rowsell says creating an authentic brand identity through music is integral to the brand’s DNA.
“From Glastonbury in the 60s and 70s through to Spendlour, Bluesfest and Coachella today, Levi’s has been there,” she explains. “Back in 2017, we launched the Levi’s Music Prize which is the largest music prize in Australian music history. We provide over $120,000 in cash annually to four artists each year.”
This year, it has raised the stakes further by launching Australia’s first mental health helpline for the industry in collaboration with charity Support Act.
The venture is tied back into stores, where branded tees are sold in the lead up to mental health awareness month in October and Australian Music Tee Shirt Day in early November. All proceeds go back to Support Act and the industry at large, Rowsell adds.
“We are very passionate about these projects,” she says. “Music is one of the most authentic forms of self-expression and so playing a major role within the music space is a natural fit.”