Powerful UNICEF music videos raise awareness of humanitarian issues

In my previous post I looked at how music can be used to boost social causes. The United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) recent music video campaign is a prime example. UNICEF’s series of music videos aimed at raising awareness of children’s rights have been viewed by over 300,000 people, according to David Girling’s Social Media for Development blog.

Girling interviewed Nicholas Ledner, Digital Knowledge Coordinator at UNICEF, to find out more about the creative process behind the videos. Featuring the music of critically-acclaimed artists such as Banks and SOJA, the videos cover a range of themes from access to education to ending violence against children and child marriage.

Ledner had this to say about selecting the right artists: “[You need] to ensure you identify an artist that has a significant fan base, that’s critically praised, that is smart, intelligent, passionate and understands your work. This is essential for success and for a mutually beneficial relationship. The team the artist works with is also very important. You need to know they’re willing to help you seed the content with different outlets.”

He added: “Music resonates globally and has helped us provoke conversations around key issues UNICEF advocates for. Music can often touch people in ways other media cannot. It makes them think about their own lives and helps them relate to others because they feel something in the music which is sometimes harder to convey to a general audience.”

Read the full article here and watch the music videos below.


Access the UNICEF YouTube channel here

Tips for incorporating music into your marketing mix

My previous post touched on why music is a powerful marketing tool. Now let’s look at how organizations can harness that power. Here are some ideas:

Incorporate music into your long-term marketing strategy

As Russel Wallach points out in an article for Fast Company, music should be thought of as a language and culture that connects your brand to stakeholders. He adds: “The success of using music content as a way to gain consumer mindshare parallels the traditional metrics of media success. If you want to create a long-term bond with music fans, you need to make a commitment for the long haul to retain authenticity.” In harnessing the power of music, marketers need to focus on creating an authentic connection that consumers respond to, be it through social experiences, mobile devices, content or loyalty programmes, says Wallach.

Enhance branding through advertising or public service announcements

In an article for LinkedIn, Collin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, says: “Having a great song, jingle, or score makes [an advertisement] create positive emotions in the minds of your customers. It gives your brand promise a foundation built on good memories. From there, you can build the brand to attract them to your business.” However, the importance of authenticity should once again be stressed here. Whether it’s online, on TV, on the radio, or live, there are many ways to share your musical ads.

Harness the power of digital music communities

Today’s music fans are not just passive listeners. They have created diverse online communities on streaming sites like Spotify, as well as other social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Marketers should therefore incorporate social media into their music marketing strategies, using digital communities as a means to help customers engage with their brand.

Apple bought Beats By Dre for $3 billion mid last year. This landmark deal has so far proven to be a music and marketing success story and a win-win for all involved. Apple capitalized on an opportunity to significantly boost it’s brand reach/engagement via the Beats/Dr. Dre fan bases. Oh, and Hip hop icon Dr. Dre became Hip hop’s richest artist, en route to become the genres first billionaire. Photo: Zennie Abraham/Flickr
Apple bought Beats By Dre for $3 billion last year. This landmark deal has so far proven to be a music and marketing success story and a win-win for all involved. Apple capitalized on an opportunity to significantly boost it’s brand reach/engagement via the Beats/Dr. Dre fan bases. Oh, and Hip hop icon Dr. Dre became Hip hop’s richest artist, en route to becoming the genres first billionaire. Photo: Zennie Abraham/Flickr

Maximize artist affinity and loyalty

Wallach recommends leveraging artist affinity and providing exclusive and added value such as free downloads or face-to-face meetings between fans and artists. Says Wallach: “Music fans are among the most loyal and passionate people in the world; they will travel far and wide to support the artists they love the most.” With that said, Wallach stresses the importance of matching the right artist with the right brand. “Music can be a powerful component to your marketing mix, but must be handled with care to convert music-loving fans to brand-loving customers,” he says.

Analyze consumer data

Wallach adds that marketers should consider unlocking and analyzing the plethora of data available today. This can help them understand music fan preferences and triggers, in order to create a successful music marketing strategy. It goes without saying that accessing such data should be done so ethically and legally.

Run music-centred campaigns/initiatives

As mentioned above, music is a powerful tool for mobilizing social action. This power can be demonstrated through campaigns centred on music projects, programmes or artists. An article by Macala Wright on Mashable cites two examples. One was an Amnesty International programme called ‘The Power of Our Voices’ which educated students about protest songs and using music to bring about social change. The other was the ‘#AbsolutGaga’ contest during Lady Gaga’s tour last year, devised by the manufacturers of Absolut Vodka. Fans were encouraged to share ideas via social media on how they would transform their community. As thanks for their ideas, certain fans were given special access at Lady Gaga’s shows.

ReverbNation’s ‘Music For Good’ is also notable. Every artist that sells music on the ReverbNation site chooses a charity they would like to support. Half of the proceeds from music sales go to the charity, and half to the artist. As stated on the ‘Music For Good’ webpage, “every time a fan buys a song from a ReverbNation artist, they’re demonstrating their support for indie music and a worthy cause.”

I’m From Barcelona performing at the Dour Festival, 2009. Photo: Kmeron/Flickr
I’m From Barcelona performing at the Dour Festival, 2009. Photo: Kmeron/Flickr

Go live!

We are social beings that enjoy experiencing music live – whether it’s for the people, the ambiance, the acoustics, or an opportunity to get closer to favourite artists. That’s why music festivals – from Coachella to Roskilde to Tomrrowland – are so popular, especially with millennials. As Wright highlights, “Music festivals have become lifestyle experiences where millennials blog, take selfies and create videos and other content to broadcast on their digital channels.” That’s why such venues can be an excellent way to market your products and, according to Wright, “achieve quality and quantity in terms of reach and possible engagement.” With this in mind, it’s worth noting that products marketed at these venues should be relevant and valuable to the target audience. To determine such relevance and value, research will need to be done beforehand.

Music and marketing: a powerful match

It’s no secret that music can be a powerful marketing tool. As Collin Shaw, founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy points out in his LinkedIn article, music has a unique effect on our brain, especially when it comes to memory. Memories, whether good or bad, can be created through the sounds and rhythms associated with music.

In addition, music can raise awareness and engagement through powerful lyrics and messages, mobilizing social action in some cases. Check out these articles – one on how music supported Nelson Mandela’s freedom struggle, and the other on 100 songs that changed history. As Mandela once said, “Music is a great blessing. It has the power to elevate us and liberate us. It sets people free to dream. It can unite us to sing with one voice. Such is the value of music.”

Stay tuned for part two of this post, where I’ll share some ideas for incorporating music into your marketing efforts.