How Brands Are Working With Musical Artists to Reach New Audiences

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At a recent Brand Innovators livecast on Music, Audio + Podcasts, senior leadership from leading brands including Taco Bell, Vans, Columbia Records and Campbell’s shared how they are working with artists to build deeper connections with consumers.

Consumers are passionate about the music they love and brands are finding new ways to work with artists in order to connect with audiences in a more integrated manner.

At a recent Brand Innovators livecast on Music, Audio + Podcasts, senior leadership from leading brands including Taco Bell, Vans, Columbia Records and Campbell’s shared how they are working with artists to build deeper connections with consumers.


Taco Bell has made music a part of its brand for years. For instance, the company gives out  $500 gift cards to help subsidize the costs of touring bands through its Feed the Beat program, as well as offering the Live Más Scholarship program to students pursuing passion projects. Additionally, the brand has also tapped Lil Nas X, a former fast-food employee, as Chief Impact Officer to help connect music culture with the brand.

“Music is one of the greatest connectors of people and community,” said Matt Prince, Sr. Manager, Public Relations & Brand Experience at Taco Bell.  “With Gen Z, you look at the role of an artist, and an artist really represents so much more for them. You look at their role in driving culture - in what people are wearing and saying, and even eating in our case. Artists almost become culture, and they drive behavior. That's a powerful impact that you don’t see everywhere else. It’s not a new concept, but I think the ways in which they are coming to life, in places like TikTok, will continue to grow and evolve.”

Columbia Records is a brand centered on selling music. Because they have a large audience, they have found that working with other brands on product integration can be win-win.

“We integrate products into music videos to make the video better for the artist,” said Jennifer Frommer, SVP-Creative Content & Brand Partnerships at Columbia Records. “We want to add to the production budget so we can help the artist achieve their vision. Music videos are one of the most important elements of an artist’s launch. Working with brands and integrating them into music videos is one of the best ways to impact culture. I really believe that you can get a bigger ROI on a music video than you can get at a Super Bowl spot.” 

Campbell Soup Company has partnered with Universal Music Group (UMG), on a new music initiative. UMG recording artists Julia Michaels, Peach Tree Rascals, Jac Ross and Mickey Guyton, are tasked with creating a new spin on their songs and their own favorite Campbell’s recipes. Each week, the remade song and personal recipe will be posted on the site. The program came after Campbell’s surveyed consumers and found that 73 percent of home cooks listen to music while cooking and 33 percent said music inspires cooking.

“Working at a food company, I’m always excited about what’s happening in culture and how it impacts us,” said Amy Strauss Falco, Consumer Engagement Manager at Campbell's. “Many of us were not excited about the pandemic, but what we saw with our consumers was that you were eating more at home. The in-home occasions where you were consuming our products rose because you were constantly at home.”

As a skateboard brand founded in Costa Mesa, CA in 1966, Vans has always been associated with street culture and music plays a key role in the brand’s DNA. Vans Musicians Wanted is a current program the company uses to support emerging artists who are looking to be discovered. 


“When you walk through our office, you’re going to see it through the art on the walls whether it's throwback posters or just old punk shows in Orange County or around the LA area,” said Tierney Stout, Director of Global Music Marketing at Vans. “There’s also a giant vert ramp in the parking lot, so I think, culturally, there’s nothing forced with the brand. There’s nothing forced within our brand DNA. Everything that you see, specifically the music, is pulling on where we came from, from day 1. Culture is very much important and it's something that is authentic to our brand.”

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