Media: Strategy Analysis - Carling pushes its passion for music

Brand: Carling Live 24 Clients: Des Johnson, Martin Coyle and Andrew Constable at Coors Brewers Brief: Raise awareness of Carling Live 24 Target audience: Men aged 18 to 24 in London (with a second event in Manchester) Budget: £200,000 in London AGENCIES Media: Matt Bement and Mike Cookson at Vizeum Creative/PR: Cake


Carling Live 24 was created last year to build on the success of the lager brand's seven-year music programme, which includes the Carling Weekend Reading and Leeds festival and the Academy and Apollo music venues.

When it launched last year, Carling Live 24 was the first 24-hour rock event to take place in London for more than 40 years. It doubled in size this year, when 26 bands appeared in 13 venues across London and Manchester.

The challenge was to connect with a significantly broader audience than the 20,000 music fans who were able to attend the event.

The communication strategy was to connect with a broad audience of 18- to 24-year-old men. Serious gig-goers would have heard about the event through Carling's PR programme. Whether they would want to go was beside the point - Carling wanted them to understand its passion for music.

Carling kept true to its down-to-earth brand by integrating its message into the fabric of its consumers' lives. Mixing traditional and new formats - and broadcast and narrowcast communications - Carling brought its unique event to a wider audience without appearing to be a corporate exploiter.


The activity had two phases: the brand platform, which explained the unique concept, and the line-up. This enabled the communication to appear unique because, in contrast to numerous other music events, it did not just focus on the bands taking part.

- London Undergound: The Underground plays a key role in the Carling audience's lives (93 per cent use it every week), so traditional formats - cross-tracks, four- and six-sheet posters - were used to provide broad cover. Bespoke creative executions appeared on whole escalator runs to emphasise the fact that the event would play over a period of 24 hours.

The Carling buskers' backdrops promoted the event and the musicians were encouraged to play tunes relating to Carling Live 24. Plasma screens ran messages about bands and encouraged consumers to go online for details.

- Internet: The site linked up with relevant sites to reach online music fans.

- Students: Students represent nearly half the Carling audience and it needed to reach them on their home turf. Again, innovation was demonstrated by putting branded door hangers in halls of residence and used student union TV along with traditional formats such as four- and six-sheet posters.

- Press: Activity in Nuts and Zoo enabled Carling to reach consumers on a national level.

- Radio: The event is all about live music so Carling developed a partnership with Xfm, which delivered live reads and ran trailers and a golden ticket promotion. This culminated in live coverage of the event, which was essential to make it real for live music fans, who were able to sample the atmosphere of the sellout event. Xfm also broadcast an hour-long special of Carling Live 24 highlights.


The big win for this campaign was that it achieved a broad awareness - and not just among people who attended the event. Bespoke research showed it achieved a level of awareness similar to that of the Carling Weekend festival.

This is a great result considering the number of concerts taking place this summer and given that Carling Live 24 is only in its second year.

In terms of awareness, the event outperformed all other sponsored concerts and music events that took place around that time.

Carling Live 24 is now the jewel in the Carling music crown, showing consumers its passion for live music.

THE VERDICT - Tim Allnutt managing partner, Naked Inside

This page gives agencies a chance showcase their very best work and demonstrate the ideas and insights that have made a real difference to their clients' businesses. It's also an opportunity to show off to their peers work they are proud of.

I'm not sure this entry makes the most of this opportunity. Music is an over-subscribed territory and I'm not sure why this music event is really that different from any number of booze-sponsored events already out there. Yes, Carling has a range of associations in music but what is the unique thing about this activity that differentiates it from all the others? And what is it about this event that uniquely fits with the brand's big idea? There may have been some good reasons for this association but I'm not sure we get enough of an understanding about the fit between brand and event.

There doesn't seem to be a communication strategy here. It was apparently "to connect with a broad audience of 18- to 24-year-old men".

This describes who they were targeting but not what the strategy was.

What is the co-ordinating communication thought that drives this activity?

How has the approach elevated the role of media beyond simply being a vehicle for the creative message?

They talk about "integrating messages into the fabric of consumers lives" but there is no mention of how this campaign linked to the product itself (was there an incentive linked to purchase?), how it was brought to life in-store or in-bar, and what happened at the event itself. These are all important parts of the customer journey and we get no sense of how this strategy made the most of these critical opportunities.

If this campaign was about demonstrating Carling's passion for music, why do they describe the "big win" as having achieved "broad awareness"?

You can be aware of something without feeling positive about it. Surely, this was about improving the audience's predisposition to the brand. Of course, it may be that the strategic approach and the resulting campaign achievements simply don't come through in this paper - you only need to look at Carling's busker activity on the London Underground to see how creative it can be with music. It's just that I don't get it with this campaign.

SCORE: 1/5.