Hyundai is the latest example of a major brand leveraging the hipster cool of recording artists in a bid to appeal to a young contemporary audience.
Its Re:Generation Music Project has been building up steam for a few months culminating these past couple of weeks with the screening of a 75-minute film in selected movie theatres across the US.
What’s the project all about?
Re:Generation is an initiative in which five renowned DJs - DJ Premier, Mark Ronson, Skrillex, Pretty Lights and The Crystal Method – remix, recreate and re-imagine five traditional styles of music.
From the classical perfection of the Berklee Symphony Orchestra to the bayou jams of New Orleans jazz, from rock to country to RB – the high-profile DJs collaborate with some of today’s biggest musicians to “discover how our musical past is influencing the future”.
Brands getting into bed with edgy artists is not new, but they need to do it respectfully and without resorting to heavy-handed advertising tactics, otherwise it will backfire big time.
To be successful with a campaign like this, the project needs an authentic collaborative edge, a creative twist, not to mention a solid commitment of dollars and resources from the brand. That said, it also requires the brand to take a back seat i.e. minimal logo identification and no overt advertising messages, otherwise it runs the risk of devolving into a morass of commercial mediocrity.
In the case of Re:Generation, the DJs – all cool brands in their own right (much cooler than Hyundai) – are the stars of the show, not the car brand.
The DJs’ stories – i.e. how they each interpret different music styles (and the resultant music they create) – are what makes this project interesting and appealing to the target audience. Hyundai is merely the facilitator along for, ahem, the ride (and I don’t mean that in a condescending way). That is the right place for the brand to be in. Hyundai appears to know this and good on ‘em for resisting the temptation to overly commercialise the project.
In addition to a the film being selectively shown in cinemas, a trailer has been released on Hyundai’s YouTube channel and portions of the film will play at a series of live “Remix Lab” events the brand is hosting in New York, L.A., Miami, Las Vegas and Chicago (source).
Oh, and you know the best thing, Hyundai has made available the soundtrack for free download (bless ‘em).
Smart marketers today understand the power of creating compelling content that informs, inspires and/or entertains (not to mention is shareable) – content that resonates with the target audience, so much so they feel the need to tweet positively about it!
Hyundai appears to ‘get’ this new way of doing things: the brand’s CMO Steve Shannon is quoted as saying the campaign is part of a broader, longer term marketing evolution for Hyundai.
Come on baby light my fire!
As I write this I’m listening to Skrillex’s collaboration with members of The Doors on a tune called ‘Breakin’ a Sweat’. In a word, awesome!