Music downloads drive brand promotions

Using marketing campaigns with a music tie-in that include free, downloadable music track offers to target a younger demographic are gaining popularity for brands as diverse as Zippo lighters and Vitaminwater. 

“Zippo has a deep heritage with music” due to the lofting of the lighters by fans at concerts, said Rick Gardinier, chief digital officer at agency Brunner, which recently launched a Zippo campaign that partners with Rolling Stone magazine and RealNetworks for a microsite in support of indie rock music. Because of this heritage, it made sense to build a campaign around contemporary music in an effort to help the Zippo brand maintain relevance with its target audience of young men age 18 to 34, Gardinier explained.

The “hub” of the campaign is a recently launched microsite at, which features exclusive content and lives within the Rolling Stone Web site. The campaign also will be supported with social media and print ads in Rolling Stone. Banner ads on and will run through the fall.

“Zippo has advertised with Rolling Stone for years, but to really go this deep on an online partnership together is a first,” said Gardinier.

Music also plays a key role in a new promotion from Glaceau’s Vitaminwater, which has partnered with MySpace Music to launch a new flavor, Sync. For the promotion, 24 million bottles of Sync will feature a MySpace Music logo, and promotional codes printed under each cap will allow purchasers to download a free MP3 music track.

On the Zippo/Rolling Stone site, visitors can find two exclusive videos by the band Shinedown and a free, downloadable track, as well as additional content such as exclusive interviews, a message board and a catalog of rock-themed Zippo lighters.

There’s also a CRM component. Microsite visitors are required to opt in to view much of the content. Those who sign up will receive a series of e-mails, including messages with a thank you theme, for their birthday, special offers and around live events sponsored by Zippo.

Zippo also recently launched Facebook and MySpace pages that reference the company’s rock music ties and

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